Francesca Giacco’s SIX DAYS IN ROME Spaghetti all’acciughe (pasta with anchovies)

He’s decided to make dinner. I watch him drop anchovies in simmering butter. He stirs until they disappear, then adds black pepper. I hear the grinder make its quick turns.
Six Days in Rome

My novel Six Days in Rome has quite a few mouth-watering food references, and pasta with anchovies and butter is a perfect example of what makes true Italian food so singular – it’s all the more perfect for its simplicity. When John cooks this for Emilia in his apartment in Esquilino, he’s able to throw it together quickly, with just a few balanced, rich ingredients, while they watch a small parade trail through the street below.

-Francesca Giacco

See Francesca’s recipe for Negroni Sbagliato


4 servings

Prep Time

5 mins

Cook Time

10 mins

Francesca Giacco’s SIX DAYS IN ROME Spaghetti all’acciughe (pasta with anchovies)

Spaghetti all'acciughe (Pasta with anchovies)

  • 1/4 pound good quality butter
  • 6 anchovy filets
  • 1 pound fresh fettucine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Put 3/4 of the butter into a pan large enough to hold the cooked and drained pasta and melt over medium heat.
  2. Add the anchovies and stir till they are dissolved. Once the water has been brought to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the pasta cooking water.
  3. Over medium heat, add the drained pasta to the pan with the butter and toss well to coat. Add about a quarter of a cup of the cooking water, stirring well. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the butter, and a bit more of the pasta water, and stir.