Cast Iron

One-Pan Parmesan & Anchovy Pantry Pasta

July 21, 2018
4 Ratings
Photo by Emma Singer
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2, generously
Author Notes

I grew up as the oldest of six children and my parents both worked full time. Needless to say, there were some nights when dinner was made of purely pantry ingredients (some of these concoctions were better than others). My favorite pantry-night dinner was my mom’s anchovy pasta. My mom would get her biggest cast iron skillet, pour in a generous helping of olive oil, and gently heat anchovies, garlic, and red pepper flakes. While the aromatics lightly sizzled she would boil up enough pasta to feed a crowd and us kids would argue over who got to shake the pre-grated, slightly questionable container of parmesan. The pasta then joined the olive oil concoction and was swirled with some parmesan cheese and any greens left in the vegetable drawer.

This recipe is an adaptation of that mid-week favorite. I’ve stayed true to the quick and savory soul of the recipe, but I’ve added some of my own favorite pantry items to kick it up a notch. Capers provide a burst of vinegary brininess and Kraft pre-shredded parmesan cheese has been replaced with some freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. This recipe is infinitely adaptable; top it with a fried egg, shaved radishes, or bread crumbs!

Emma Singer

What You'll Need
  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
  • 4 filets of canned anchovies
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup arugula, spinach, or baby kale
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  1. Set a pot of heavily salted water to boil according to the instructions on your box of pasta.
  2. Pour olive oil into a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Heat until shimmering.
  3. Add red pepper flakes and capers to the pan; cook for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add whole anchovies to the skillet; stir gently to break apart the filets. They should break down very easily.
  5. Add your garlic to the pan and stir. Let the garlic lightly brown, and then turn off the heat. The garlic will cook through with the residual heat from the skillet.
  6. Add your pasta to the olive oil mixture; stir to combine.
  7. Add parsley, greens, and parmesan. Stir to combine. Serve with more parsley, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked black pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Emma Singer
    Emma Singer
  • Allen Singer
    Allen Singer
  • Sara

5 Reviews

FrugalCat September 18, 2018
Fantastic! I made it with shell pasta (I hate twirling strands) and it was very well received by Mr. Cat as well. Serve with lots of water-stay hydrated or you will wind up with a salt hangover.
Sara July 22, 2018
I just amazed my entire family with this delicious and easy to make dish. The ingredients are easy to get and the directions are clear. This recipe is now added to my “top 10” go to recipes. Wow!
Emma S. July 22, 2018
If anyone has questions about the recipe or wants more information about my favorite toppings, feel free to reach out in the comments!
Allen S. July 21, 2018
Best ever. Great adaptation
Emma S. July 21, 2018
Thanks, dad. You tasted the original so I'm glad you approve!!