Pasta Temptation anchovy style

Sometimes I can get rather obsessed with certain things, for instance all these food and chef programs that seem to run on different TV-channels around the clock. I  just love them and can’t stop watching. They are mostly British or Australian, and often re-runs of older programs, but who cares. There is always something new to learn or be inspired by whether it is Jamie Oliver, MasterChef, sweet Rachel Khoo and her little Paris kitchen or The Fabulous Baker Brothers, just to mention a few.

Recently I watched an episode of “Rhodes across Italy” where Gary Rhodes prepared a very simple anchovy sauce for a pasta dish. The dish sounded so delicious and with the few ingredients needed already in the house – pasta, onion, garlic, parsley and anchovy fillets – I decided right away to cook it for dinner that same day.

If you eat with your eyes first, and I guess most of us do, this dish probably won’t make your mouth waters just by the look of it. But do not despair, give it a try and you will love it …. or you will not.

Due to a linguistic misunderstanding, however, my recipe differs a little from Gary Rhodes’ when it comes to one vital ingredient. Without any intention one can say the dish got a Swedish twist by accident, but as it turned out so well, I’ll here give you my version of the dish. Sorry Garry!

The linguistic misunderstanding was not knowing that “anchovy” in the recipe meant those small, rolled salted fillets that we in Sweden use to call sardelles, while “anchovy” for us Swedes means sprats pickled in sugar, salt and spices. When Abba, which is the most popular brand (not to be confused with ABBA, the most popular band), exports its anchovies abroad it is done under the name of “anchovy style sprats fillets”. I haven’t tried doing the dish with sardelles, so choose whatever sounds most appealing / convenient to you, the European or the Swedish style anchovy. The Swedish fillets will add a bit of sweetness to the sauce.

I have named this dish Pasta Temptation to allude on the classic Swedish dish Jansson’s Temptation. The main ingredients are the same, anchovies and onions besides potatoes instead of pasta, and is very common on the Swedish Christmas table.

So here goes!

Pasta Temptation anchovy style


500 grams pasta

Anchovy sauce

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 grams of yellow onion, finely sliced
  • 125 grams of anchovy fillets (for a saltier taste) or Abba’s anchovy style sprats fillets (for a sweeter taste)
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • coarsely grated black pepper


Anchovy sauce

  • Heat olive oil in a pan, add the onions and let soften before adding the garlic.
  • Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fried onion

  • Add the anchovies to the pan together with 1-2 tablespoons of the anchovy liquor (if using the Swedish style), cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

Onion and fillets

until the anchovies have puréed amongst the onions and created a rich, but sadly beige, sauce.


  • Add some of the chopped parsley to finish.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to directions.
  • Drain the pasta and add it straight into the pan with the sauce, add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water to loosen.

  • Mix through and season with black pepper and sprinkle the remaining parsley on top.

Pasta och persilja

  • Serve immediately.


Pasta närbild

Pasta på gaffel