Spaghetti with Fried Capers and Anchovies

Jan Newberry first read about fried capers in Peggy Knickerbocker's outstanding book Olive Oil (Chronicle Books). They add a wonderful bite to this lemon-spiked pasta.

Slideshow: Fast Weekday Pastas

  • Servings: 4


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup drained nonpareil capers, rinsed
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 6 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the capers and fry over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and shriveled, about 4 minutes. Strain the capers and discard the oil.

  2. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, in a mortar or mini-processor, combine the anchovies, garlic and lemon zest; pound or process to a thick paste. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, crushed red pepper and fried capers.

  3. Drain the spaghetti. Add it to the fried caper mixture, toss to coat and serve.


Look for a peppery or pungent extra-virgin olive oil to pick up the tangy pasta sauce; use a mild-flavored olive oil to fry the capers.

Suggested Pairing

This salty, savory pasta points to a white with a fairly high level of acidity. Try an herby, flavorful Sauvignon Blanc or Fumé Blanc from California.

Contributed By Photo © Zubin Schroff Published April 1998

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