For the non-Italian speakers out there, that would be Valentine’s Day Part two. Part Two, because, while we’ve been in and out of the kitchen most of the day, this is dinner!

Victor saw this recipe the other day and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner, tonight, of have him cook. While I really do like going out once in a while, I’d much rather eat at home on nights everyone else wants to go out. Besides… He’s a really good cook.

And really good cook came up with a killer dinner! This really did rock the casbah. Everything about it worked – from the saltiness of the olives and anchovies to the sweetness of the onions and the little kick from the lemon and spice from the red pepper flakes.

I could go on and on, but instead, I’ll just say Highly Recommended.

And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Spicy Spaghetti

adapted from NY Times

  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon chile paste or red-pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 anchovies, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped mix of parsley and basil (or use all parsley)
  • ⅓ cup chopped cured Moroccan or other intensely flavored black olives
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • Lemon wedges
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)


Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

Cook the onions: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and pale golden – about 20 minutes.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions until just al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta.

Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves, and stir into golden onions, along with red-pepper flakes. Continue to cook until onions are a rich brown, about 10 minutes longer.

Finely grate remaining garlic cloves, and mash into anchovies.

Move some of the onion mixture to the side of the pan and add anchovy paste to bare spot in the skillet. Cook paste for 1 minute, then add herbs and olives, stir everything together, and cook another 1 minute.

Stir in cooked pasta, butter, and salt to taste, tossing to coat pasta. Add pasta water if it looks dry.

Serve with a generous squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle with Parmesan and more chile on top.

And just because… here’s that crusty baguette. It really was good – crusty crunch and perfectly-chewy interior.