Pasta shells with anchovies & pangrattato

I pulled this recipe from a 2006 Waitrose recipe card. The original recipe called for orecchiette, but they didn’t have any at the grocery store, so I used what we had in the cupboard. I love the pangrattato mixture and I’m sure you could add it to salads and sorts of other Italian meals. This dish is a very nice change from typical pasta meals. Note: once the anchovies have cooked down they aren’t too fishy tasting so don’t worry.

Preparation time
Cooking time


  • 400g pasta shells
  • 300g broccoli crown, cut into small florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100g fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic (diced)
  • 20g flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 2 x 50g tins anchovy fillets
  • 1 dry red chili (crushed)
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Cook the pasta, add the broccoli to the water 5 minutes before the end of the pasta cooking time. Drain, return to the pot and cover to keep warm.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pangrattato. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the breadcrumbs, half the garlic and half the parsley. Cook for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crisp. Season with pepper, tip on to a plate and wipe out the pan.

Drain the anchovies and place 1 tablespoon of the anchovy oil from the tin, plus the remaining olive oil in the pangrattato pan. Add the rest of the garlic, cook for 1 minute (careful not to burn the garlic) and then add the anchovy fillets. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the anchovies are soft and have reduced. Add the chili, lemon juice and remaining parsley. Pour the mixture over the pasta and mix well.

Spoon the pasta into bowls and sprinkle with the pangrattato (and a bit of parmesan).

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