Macaroni with butter and anchovies

The recipe that we offer you today is disarming in its simplicity, and is therefore perfect for those who are not very experienced cooks, or who have little time on their hands. Or it might be suitable for those whose pantry is practically empty, but does contain, at least, some butter and a jar of anchovies. Butter and anchovies are one of the most successful combinations in cookery: two flavours that combine and enhance one another perfectly. The butter melts with the heat of the pasta immediately after draining, enveloping each and every one of the macaroni, while the anchovies and capers give the dish a verve and character which will satisfy even the most demanding of palates. You can make this main course with a short pasta shape of your choice, but spaghetti would also be fine. The important thing is to enjoy it hot.


  • maccheroni 120 grams
  • anchovies 10 grams
  • pepper 3 grams
  • capers 4 grams
  • butter 40 grams
5 minutes Total time
10 minutes Active time
Serves 1 person
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Cook the pasta as usual in boiling salted water. Take a bowl and beat together the butter (which must be at room temperature), anchovies, capers and a generous sprinkling of pepper. There only remains to drain the pasta and mix with the sauce. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to loosen.

If you want to give more body to your macaroni sauce, you could add a teaspoon of cream to the butter and melt in a saucepan before transferring the mixture to the bowl with the anchovies and capers. And again, if you like the pairing of butter and anchovies, you could use it as a topping for bruschetta which you might serve as a finger-food hors d’oeuvre at a dinner party with friends.
The combination of butter and anchovies is strongly rooted in the Roman culinary tradition, and is still served in many restaurants and osterias of the capital. A sandwich, pizza or plate of macaroni with butter and anchovies is the essence of Roman cuisine. A final note of interest: the combination of butter and anchovies was much loved and praised by the famous Roman poet Trilussa.

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