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Spaghetti with Caramelized Onions, Anchovies, and Toasted-Garlic Breadcrumbs


Cobbled together from staples, this dish pays homage to tasty and thrifty Sicilian cuisine. Caramelized onions and anchovies marry sweet and salty, and garlic-laced breadcrumbs contribute a pleasingly crisp, crumbly texture.

  • Servings: 4

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2008


  • 1/2 loaf day-old white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 9 garlic cloves, 3 lightly crushed, 6 thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish


  1. Pulse bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add crushed garlic, and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon oil, and stir until well coated. Season with salt, and cook until breadcrumbs are crisp and golden brown. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Discard garlic, and let breadcrumbs cool completely.

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in each of 2 large skillets over medium heat. Divide onions between skillets, and cook, stirring frequently, until caramelized and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (Add a little more oil if necessary.) Combine cooked onions in 1 skillet. Add sliced garlic, and cook over medium heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Add anchovies and red-pepper flakes, and cook for 2 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions in salted water. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Transfer spaghetti to skillet, and toss well. Add reserved cooking liquid, parsley, and butter, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, then top with breadcrumbs, and garnish with parsley.

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