Spaghetti with Caramelized Onions, Anchovies, and Toasted Bread Crumbs

Makes 4 servings


  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large Spanish onions, cut lengthwise in half and then into ¼-inch-thick half-moons
  • 5 salt-packed anchovies, filleted and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • ½ cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup toasted bread crumbs


Step 1: In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive olive or butter over medium low heat.  Add bread crumbs and toast until light brown.
Step 2: In another 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside.
Step 3: Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot, and add 2 tbsp salt. Soak the anchovies in the milk for 10 minutes.
Step 4: In another 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the red pepper flakes are lightly toasted, about 30 seconds. 
Step 5: Drain the anchovies, toss them into the pan, and cook, stirring, until they have broken down, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cooked onions and lower the heat to a simmer.
Step 6: Drop the spaghetti into the boiling water and cook until just al dente.
Step 7: Drain the pasta and toss into the pan with the anchovy mixture. Add the parsley and stir to coat. Pour into a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and serve.

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