Anchovy Pasta: A quick, healthy pasta that you can cook up in 20 minutes

Anchovies, basil, cherry tomatoes
Anchovies, basil, cherry tomatoes

My last few dishes haven’t really been the healthiest dishes that you can get. For this Sunday’s family dinner, I decided to go with a brighter, fresher pasta that would still have a lot of bold flavours. My first option was an anchovy and arugula pasta, something that I have done before while I was still in Singapore. Upon checking in the supermarket, arugula was out so I had to check for substitutes that could still work well with the saltiness of the anchovies. I finally decided on an anchovy, cherry tomato, and basil pasta! Read more to check the recipe out.

The flavours that went with my original anchovy dish were lemon for acidity and arugula for some nuttiness. This recipe uses shallow fried cherry tomatoes for tartness and and basil for some sweetness.


  • 300g Spaghetti
  • 5 Anchovy fillets
  • 30g Whole basil leaves
  • 180g Cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 1 Small white onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped

Prep Work

  1. Take a medium saucepan on medium-low heat and add a little olive oil
  2. Once the oil is hot, throw in your cherry tomatoes.
  3. Shake the saucepan lightly every few minutes to make sure that the tomatoes cook evenly.
  4. Season with some salt.
  5. Once you see some cracks on the skin of the tomatoes, remove from heat and transfer to a clean container.
  6. Bonus step: I drizzled a little chili oil on some of the tomatoes at this point. These tomatoes were destined to be put on top of the pasta after plating. Don’t worry, the heat isn’t super strong with this. It’s balanced pretty well by the sweetness and the acidity. The whole tomatoes literally add a nice pop to the dish.


  1. In a pot, take salted water and drop your pasta once water reaches a rolling boil.
  2. Put olive oil in a separate pan in medium heat.
  3. Once the oil is hot, throw in your garlic and onions and cook until fragrant and onions turn translucent.
  4. Add in around 2/3 of your pre-cooked tomatoes and burst them to create a thicker sauce.
  5. Add in white wine and cook off the alcohol.
  6. Add in your anchovies and break them up to mix them well with the onions, garlic, and tomatoes.
  7. Add in some pasta water to get some starch into the sauce.
  8. Once the spaghetti is a minute away from the desired texture (the one I used needed 12 minutes in the boiling water), transfer the pasta into the pan with the sauce.
  9. Add the whole basil leaves and a little more pasta water to get the desired texture for the sauce.
  10. Once the basil is wilted, add freshly grated parmesan cheese and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  11. Plate and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.
  12. If you put aside some of the cherry tomatoes, top these chili oil coated cherry tomatoes on the pasta.
  13. Serve and enjoy!
The finished product! I added a little more freshly grated parmesan for this.
The finished product! I added a little more freshly grated parmesan for this.

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