Jamie Oliver & his anchovies plus an easy pasta recipe

Some of the most frequently used ingredients in Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks are:

Fennel -both vegetables and spice (powder)



and anchovies

Whoa….do you know how expensive anchovies are? One tiny, weeny fish is almost RM1 and a whole can, the cheapest I can find is RM6. The better brands are around RM12.

This photo has been blown up several times, like 4 times, so think, small, tiny fishes?

In Jamie’s Dinner cookbook, there was this really simple pasta recipe. I do not have all the cheese he recommended (and can’t afford them anyway) so this is what I substituted with:

Boil pasta – keep the water

In a separate pan, grate some garlic and sweat it in butter. Sweat means to make the garlic soft but not browned. Add two or three anchovies. Anchovies are awfully salty.

Once pasta is cooked, put it into these garlic/butter/anchovies combination and mix well. Put the pasta into individual serving plates. Jamie said if the pasta is too dry, add some of the water you used to boil the pasta. A few tablespoon to make it less dry. Then, grate generous amount of parmesan on it. I used a parmesan block and sprinkle a lot of black peppers.

It is a lovely pasta and very easy to prepare too. The garlic, butter and anchovies sort of provide the oomph to the pasta. The parmesan completes the taste. Nice, but errm..not exactly something I dare to eat everyday. My kids however adore it after the regular cream or bolognese sauce I normally serve them.

Post Author: Lilian

Food, travel, recipes. Chinese Malaysian, blogger, photographer and writer.

13 thoughts on “Jamie Oliver & his anchovies plus an easy pasta recipe


    (November 7, 2006 - 1:35 pm)

    hmm.. i always had this idea that anchovies was just an other name for ikan bilis. I guess not! i wonder if something else can be substituted for the anchovies..

    Sooi Sooi

    (November 7, 2006 - 2:17 pm)

    yes la that fella always fennel this fennel that in his shows…and dont forget the lemon juice as well!

    i still have no idea how anchovies taste like…like wet salty ikan bilis?


    (November 7, 2006 - 2:24 pm)

    Lilian…….you’re an awesome mom lah. I mean, you cook good meals for your family everyday! When I become a mother some day, I’m definitely gonna learn how to cook good food like you and provide homecooked meals as often as possible for my family!


    (November 7, 2006 - 5:48 pm)

    where can we get anchovies? hehe…


    (November 7, 2006 - 8:12 pm)

    I always wanted to try to subsitute anchovies with salted fish like those good salted ikan kurau type….I think the concept is like when you add salted fish into claypot chicken rice….it will add that extra oommph to the rice…



    (November 7, 2006 - 10:14 pm)

    I always thought anchovies were quite cheap?! Usually prefer them on pizzas though.

    Jamie Oliver is good laugh isn’t he? I think it’s because his tongue is too big for his mouth hence the funny way he talks. A great entertainer though with lots of good ideas for simple recipes.


    (November 8, 2006 - 8:28 am)

    You are on Jamie Oliver mode huh… Been cooking a lot from his recipe. But then his recipe is soeasy to follow. If not, you can always add in your extra ingredient and make it your style. But like reading your blog. Can get inspiration when I want to cook for my family. Thanks.


    (November 8, 2006 - 8:37 am)

    I bought a can of anchovies two weeks ago and don`t know what to do with them besides frying them to eat with porridge.( My niece said it taste heavenly when panfried). Now you give me an idea! Thanks Lilian!! I wonder how it will taste like if use for topping in pizza. Would like to try someday.


    (November 8, 2006 - 12:32 pm)

    Lovely recipe Aunty.

    Molly, Anchovies are really salty so use them sparingly in ur pizza.

    One other way to use them is to make ceaser salad. A very easy dish to make and I always wonder why people get scared of making it. First of all, get one anchovy fillet, one garlic and crush it in a big bowl with a spoon, then add one egg yolk beat and mix well then slowly sprinkly extra virgin olive oil very very slowly, so that it doesn’t split until the volume increase 4 to 5 times its original volume of egg yolk. then add the juice of half a lemon and salt and pepper to taste…take some lettuce (romaine Lettuce, the long leaved ones) don’t chop it up with knives, just potong it with ur hand and drop it into the bowl and toss it around the dressing, put on plate, top up with bacon bits and croutons..YUMMY!!!!

    tip: to keep lettuce crispy, 15 minutes before serving, pop lettuce leaves into a bowl of ice cold water (with ice cubes floating in the water) and it will crisp wonderfully.


    (November 9, 2006 - 10:42 am)

    Didn’t know there is such anchovies. Is it like ikan masin?


    (November 9, 2006 - 11:51 pm)

    Anchovies in can or bottle alot what in tesco, tmc, in that shop near sbb kenny hills, hock choon (all in kl liao). If in short supply Itu ikan tenggiri jeruk in the bottle of oil is not far off.

    Try anchovies stir fry with kailan. But then again why buy expensive anchovies when we have luverly ikan kurau/ tenggiri masin to fry with kailan.


    (November 12, 2006 - 6:09 pm)

    Thanks for all the suggestions and feedbacks. Lucky some of you have helped to reply part of the questions.

    The anchovies is almost like our salted fish, mergui type soaked in water.

    QV- I love caesar salad but cannot afford to eat all the time. Too fattening and always so expensive!


    (November 14, 2006 - 10:32 pm)

    This is my favourite recipe. Depending on what’s in my fridge, I may add broccoli florets to the pasta while boiling (in the last few mins of cooking) or fry sliced fresh mushroom with the anachovy/ garlic mix before adding the cooked pasta. Definately don’t forget the lemon juice…and add some chilli for a kick.

Comments are closed.