Spaghetti with Oranges, Dates and Anchovies

This image courtesy of Lucy Schaeffer

Spaghetti con arance, datteri e acciughe One forkful was all it took to catapult this fabulous mix of sweet and savory to the top of my favorite fruit and pasta list. The unusual combination of dates and anchovies was inspired by Michelin star chef Carlo Cracco's virtuoso appetizer of anchovy-stuffed dates fried in batter made with panettone, an Italian sweet yeast cake with a fruity aroma of raisins and candied oranges. That dish has inspired many Italian home cooks to convert the ingredient mix into this remarkable pasta dish.


Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 15 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish

Dietary Considerationlactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch

Type of Dishpasta


  • 1/2 cup (56 g) homemade coarsely ground breadcrumbs, toasted
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound (455 g) spaghetti or other long pasta, preferably Felicetti
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy filets
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) white wine
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 12 dried dates, thinly sliced
  • Zest of 1 orange, cut into long strips


  1. Put the breadcrumbs in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and re-toast, stirring often, until crunchy. Set them aside on a paper towel.

  2. Boil the pasta in salted water for 2 minutes less than the package directs. Drain.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over very low heat, slowly heat 1/4 cup (60 ml) oil with the anchovies, pressing the anchovies with a wooden spoon until they dissolve. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add the tomato paste and dates and simmer for a few minutes.

  4. Toss the pasta in the sauce to finish cooking it, adding a little cooking liquid as needed. Serve the pasta topped with the breadcrumbs and long strips of orange zest.

  5. Region: Northern and central Italy

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