Working Girl Dinners: Cheapskate Spaghetti

RECIPE: Cheapskate Spaghetti

Cheapskate Spaghetti

Cheapskate Spaghetti

I just moved into a new apartment in London with Mr. English.  And I’ve been doing a lot of what I call “apartment cooking.”  I don’t have all my pots and pans yet, the kitchen’s small, and frankly, I just want to feed us, not Cook with a capital C.  I’ve stocked my little pantry, and I’ve been referring to it every meal time as if it were the Bible.  That’s how I came up with Sunday’s Tuna Bruschetta, and that’s how I came up with cheapskate pasta.

It’s not a total original–it’s something I’ve heard of, but never had, and never made.  It’s spaghetti, with olive oil, garlic, chili, anchovy, and parsley.  While the spaghetti is boiling away, the oil is infused over the heat with the garlic, chili flakes, and anchovy paste.  Long before the pasta is done, the sauce is ready.  And then you have a spicy, salty, nutty, light pasta that you want to eat way too much of.  I’ve made it, including for this video, four times this week.  Last night, we finished the whole pot between the two of us.  And the other time, when we had some leftovers, Mr. English caught me red handed, standing in front of the open fridge, shoveling it cold into my mouth.  (Tastes just as good that way, you’ll be happy to know).

Don’t let the anchovy paste intimidate you–you won’t even know it’s in there, except that something in the background tastes really, really good.  And if you’re having company, serve this along with some roasted whole fish.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather eat right now.

Cheapskate Spaghetti
serves 2, with leftovers if you're lucky

Cheapskate SpaghettiINGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 5 cloves garlic, grated

  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste

  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

  • Small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Parmesan


Bring a big pot of water to boil, salt it well, and drop in the spaghetti.  Stir, and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a big sauté pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add the garlic, chili, and anchovy, stirring to break up the anchovy paste and spread out the garlic.  Cook until the garlic is super fragrant, but not yet brown, no more than 3 minutes.  Shut off the oil, and let it sit off to the side.

Drain the spaghetti, and toss it with the olive oil, garlic, chili, and anchovy.  Add the chopped parsley, and stir it through.  Season with salt and pepper, lightly, and top with grated Parmesan.  Serve!

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Watch, Working Girl Dinners

21 Responses to Working Girl Dinners: Cheapskate Spaghetti

  1. Bess says:

    Hmm, I’ve never knowingly ate anchovy paste, but I’d be willing to give it a try. This dish sounds easy, and yummy.

  2. Robert Ruiz says:

    This was indeed tasty and easy. I modified it slightly by cutting the ribs out of kale and then cutting the remaining leaf parts into ribbons. Sauted that in the oil with the other things. Yummy. So earthy it seems like it wants to be paired with mushrooms. Will do that next time, but it’s a nice variation and turned out well so I thought I’d share.

    • Kerry says:

      I love that you added kale. Variations are always a good thing, especially on something so simple. Plus, I’d feel healthier if it had some kale in it, right?

  3. Caitlin says:

    You look so happy and in love in your new home! This pasta does sound good and easy!

  4. Mr. English! Love that we finally get a voice behind the name. And that he serves as a culinary Greek chorus of sorts.

    Oh, and this looks delicious. The new working girl kitchen is very cute!

  5. Kerry says:

    Thanks everyone! I just told Mr. English that he’s a Greek chorus. He was VERY proud.

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  7. Yana says:

    Just made it tonight. It’s delicious when served hot, but at room temperature it’s plain addictive. I had to restrain myself from polishing up my husband’s tomorrow lunch before it made it to a portable container. And criminally simple too. Thanks, Kerry!

    • Kerry says:

      Right? It’s like there’s something in there that calls you back for more and more. And more and more. I can’t keep the leftovers around. If they’re around at midnight, they’re sure enough gone by breakfast. So glad you liked it.

  8. Justine says:

    This was soo delicious! I didnt have anchovy paste – but used some a can of gourmet sardines cut up fine. It is very addicting! Merci beaucoup Kerry!

  9. Melissa says:

    I made this tonight and it was really good! Simple to make too, which is a huge selling point. I’d never used anchovy paste before, but it added a great flavor to the pasta. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Lindsay Macadam says:

    Who is Mr. English and when did you move to London? Obviously I need to catch up on my reading, can’t wait to try this. Just finished the salmon ginger jam and it turned out great! Love the new kitchen :)

    • Kerry says:

      Mr. English is my boyfriend–who actually suggested I start this blog. He is, of course, English. And the move is extremely recent!

  11. Came across your blog on Twitter today and fell in love. Got home from work at 8:45p and wondered what I was going to make. And then boom, your cheapskate pasta totally inspired me. I didn’t have a few of your ingredients, so I subbed with fish sauce, spinach, oregano, etc. As I type this, my Honey is having 2nds. Yay! Thank you so much.

    • Kerry says:

      Hi! Welcome! I’m so glad you found that recipe, because it is one of my favorites. Cool–with the fish sauce. Love that idea!

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  13. Edmundo Warden says:

    Anchovies are found in scattered areas throughout the world’s oceans, but are concentrated in temperate waters, and are rare or absent in very cold or very warm seas. They are generally very accepting of a wide range of temperatures and salinity. Large schools can be found in shallow, brackish areas with muddy bottoms, as in estuaries and bays. They are abundant in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Alboran Sea.`

    Most current brief article on our own blog site

  14. Ian says:

    This as well as your ginger salmon & peas still gets rotated through our house twice a month each. I pair this with a whole grilled bangus. I would love to see more of your “working girl dinners.” As a working father they have helped me out a lot.