Midnight Pasta With Garlic, Anchovy, Capers and Red Pepper

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15 to 20 minutes
| Servings: 2 servings


  • ½ pound spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 anchovy filets, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, optional
  • Parmesan for grating, optional


  1. Put the spaghetti in a large pot of well-salted rapidly boiling water and cook only until firmly al dente. (Depending on the brand of pasta, this will be 8 to 10 minutes, but check frequently to see.)
  2. While the pasta is cooking, warm the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, without letting it brown. Stir in the anchovies, capers and red pepper and cook for a half-minute more, then turn off the heat.
  3. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Pour in the garlic mixture, add the parsley, if using, and toss well to coat. Serve with grated Parmesan if desired


Source: NY Times Cooking

Author’s Notes: There’s something about pasta, cooked properly, that trumps all the other possibilities. And the smell of pasta boiling is a heady cheap thrill. With a few basic staple pantry items, a true feast can be ready in minutes. Good spaghetti, good olive oil, garlic and a little red pepper are all you need, plus some anchovy and capers if you have them. – David Tanis