The Washington Post

Spaghetti With Anchovy, Lemon and Arugula

Spaghetti With Anchovy, Lemon and Arugula 2.000

Scott Suchman for the Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post

Dec 3, 2021

This riff on a Jamie Oliver recipe retains his simple sauce — a bright, briny number super-charged by anchovies and lemon juice — and his brilliant addition of peppery raw arugula. The main differences are the proportions (more lemon juice, extra Parmesan, and so much raw arugula that the dish becomes part salad), what’s left out (bye bye, lemon zest and cooked arugula), and the method, which is modified to better serve scatterbrained home cooks.

Total time: 20 mins

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

2 - 5

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2-5 servings; makes 7 cups

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 (2-ounce) can oil-packed anchovies, drained
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 juicy lemons, halved and divided
  • Fine sea or table salt
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti or linguine
  • 2 giant handfuls super-peppery arugula, preferably not baby arugula
  • 3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) to 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) coarsely grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, anchovies, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant but not colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat, squeeze in the juice from 3 of the lemon halves and stir well, breaking up the anchovies if need be. Set aside.

Once the water comes to a boil, stir in enough salt to make it taste as salty as well-seasoned soup. Add the pasta, stir well and do absolutely nothing but stand beside the pot, stirring occasionally to keep it from clumping, until it’s just short of whatever texture you’d like to eat. Use the time estimate on the box of pasta as guidance, not gospel.

When the pasta is ready, use tongs to move it to the pan with the sauce, letting a little of the salty water come along, too. Toss well, gradually adding some of the salty water if necessary to keep things saucy, until combined. Taste and, if you want, add more lemon and/or salt, though keep in mind you’ll be adding salty Parmesan in a minute.

Remove from the heat and divide the pasta among the bowls. Add a sprinkling of the arugula and Parmesan on top or on the side. Serve the remaining arugula and cheese in bowls on the side, so you can add more as you eat.

Correction: A previous version of this recipe included an incorrect nutritional analysis for this dish. It has been corrected.

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Recipe Source

Adapted by food writer JJ Goode from a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: (scant 1 1/2 cups pasta): 520

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 17g 26%

Saturated Fat: 4g 20%

Cholesterol: 20mg 7%

Sodium: 614mg 26%

Total Carbohydrates: 70g 23%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 20g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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