Aug 16, 2014

Make Ahead Recipe: Spaghetti with Pesto Made with Anchovies, Green Olives, and Parsley

Traditional pesto comes with basil and pine nuts as main ingredients. As for this recipe, we are going to have a little twist and substitute basil with parsley. To enhance the flavor, anchovies, green olives, lemon, and lime are also incorporated into the sauce. 

Ingredients (for 6 to 8 portion)?

  • 1 pack/500 grams of squid ink spaghetti
  • 30 small/medium sized peeled and deveined shrimps
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes
  • Some salt
  • Some pasta water
  • Some grated Taleggio cheese

For the parsley pesto:

  • 28 pitted green olives
  • 10 anchovies in oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 big bundle of parsley (save a little for garnish)
  • 1 lemon (both juice and zest)
  • 1 lime (both juice and zest)
  • 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • Lots of olive oil (I used about 250 grams)
  • Some freshly ground black pepper


Toast the pine nuts till it get slightly light browned color and the nutty aroma comes out -

Transfer the toasted pine nuts into a food processor. Also add in all the remaining ingredients except olive oil listed under the "parsley pesto" section. Give it a few pulses then pour in the olive oil, blend till smooth or slightly grainy depending on your preference -

Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add in one large spoonful of salt. Cook the spaghetti in the pot till al dente in texture. Save one cup of pasta water before draining, we might need that to dilute the pasta sauce later.

Peel and devein the shrimps. Peel and finely chop 2 more garlic cloves. 

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan or enough to evenly coat the bottom. Add in chopped garlic along with red pepper flakes, turn to medium heat. Cook for one minute then add in the shrimps. Sear till 50% cooked through. 

Pour in the parsley pesto and heat it up for about one minute. Add in drained pasta and mix well. See if the sauce needs to be diluted a bit, if so, pour in some pasta water we saved earlier till desired consistency.

Transfer the spaghetti to the serving plate and top with generous amount of grated Taleggio cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with Tabasco sauce if a more sourish taste is preferred.

The parsley pesto can be prepared one to two days before serving. The citrusy juice and the zest will keep the pesto fresh while stored in the fridge. You can even grate the cheese in advance, that should save a lot of prep and cleaning work when you're about to serve the pasta.

Other pasta recipes:


  1. I have been enjoying pesto-everything recently, and use walnuts instead of pine nuts in my basil-walnut pesto.

    I like the idea of some anchovies in your pesto for the salty taste. Nice.

    1. I just recently started using anchovies in my cooking, falling in love with this ingredient!

  2. I like your post very much i had nice time while reading your post.

    1. Thank you so much!! Let me know if you have any questions and I'll be happy to answer any time!

  3. This is Really nice Tips. Thanks to sharing wonderful Tips.