Pantry Pasta with Calabrian Chiles + Breadcrumbs

Despite a humble ingredient list, this dish takes pantry staples—olive oil, anchovies, tomato paste, and Calabrian chiles —to create a savory, spicy pasta you won't be able to stop eating. Serves 4.




  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs


  • 12 oz dried pasta, any shape
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped 
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 8 anchovies, kept whole (or more if you're into it - sometimes I do 10-12, or even a whole jar for a super intense flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Calabrian chili paste, divided  (1T for cooking, 1T for finishing)
  • 1 cup pasta cooking water, plus more for loosening up the sauce if desired
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, plus more for finishing if desired
  • Roughly chopped fresh parsley or oregano for serving

The Riffs, Subs + Swaps!

  • The Pasta: I love bucatini for twirling or something with nooks and crannies for catching the sauce. Use your favorite GF pasta to keep it gluten free if needed.
  • The Anchovies: Please use them! I promise you'll love them. If you're a vegetarian, feel free to leave 'em up and just up the amount of tomato paste for an extra punch of flavor. I swear by this brand for cooking!
  • The Calabrian Chiles: This ingredient packs a ton of heat. They're spicy, a little acidic, a little fruity, and I am straight-up obsessed with them. If you're not big on spice, start with 1 tablespoon to incorporate while cooking and omit the rest for finishing. Sub in a few generous pinches of crushed red chili flakes if needed.
  • The Breadcrumbs: Add perfect crunchy texture. Skip 'em if you're in a hurry. Sub in your favorite GF brand to keep it gluten free.


Crisp the breadcrumbs

  1. To large heavy bottomed skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium. Add panko breadcrumbs, season with kosher salt, and stir to combine. Cook for around 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove breadcrumbs from skillet and transfer to small bowl—you’ll top your pasta with this later. Wipe your skillet clean.

Boil the water + make the sauce

  1. Bring large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
  2. In same skillet used for breadcrumbs, heat 1/3 cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and anchovies, stir to combine, and season with kosher salt. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until onions have softened and anchovies have almost completely melted. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute or so.
  3. Add tomato paste and 1 tbsp of Calabrian chili paste, and give everything a big stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the whole mixture starts to caramelize. Season as needed with kosher salt.

Cook the pasta + toss into sauce for serving

  1. Cook the pasta just shy of al dente, it'll finish cooking in the sauce. Before you drain the pasta, set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water, as you'll use this to loosen up the sauce.
  2. Transfer the cooked pasta to your sauce in the skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of pasta cooking water, the other tablespoon of Calabrian chili paste, and 2 tablespoons salted butter, and toss until combined.
  3. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen up the sauce, being sure to season and taste as you go. Add few more knobs of butter if desired - it will add richness, cut the spice if needed, and to make an extra glossy sauce.
  4. Transfer to bowls and top with generous amounts of fresh herbs and your previously made crispy breadcrumbs.