Recipe: Lemon and anchovy breadcrumbs for pasta

Stale bread takes on a new lease of life and perks up a simple pasta dish in this recipe for lemon and anchovy breadcrumbs.

We’re skint this week. A very fun but badly timed trip to Milton Keynes to see some of our favourite people has left us peering into purses and wallets and counting down the days until payday. Our food budget is always tight but this week is all about delving into the store cupboard and breathing new life into things in the fridge and freezer.

lemon and anchovy breadcrumbs for pasta

When Rich and I first got together we had hardly any money. My mum would send us care parcels on a regular basis, bags crammed with store cupboard essentials and without her help life would have been much harder than it already was. It wasn’t fun but it did teach me how to knock up something tasty from very little and how keeping a well-stocked store cupboard can make the difference between beans on toast yet again or a dish that is requested even when things aren’t so tight.

In all honesty I’d forgotten about these tasty little breadcrumbs. I used to make a variation to top spinach and bacon macaroni cheese. I don’t know why I stopped making them but I was reminded whilst watching Jamie Oliver over Christmas. It’s surprising how blitzing up some stale bread with a few bits and bobs can really transform a fairly plain bowl of pasta into something not quite so ordinary.

These pack a bit of a punch with the garlic and anchovy but are lifted and brightened with the lemon. Toasting them adds some crunch (they will crisp as they cool) and colour. I used them to dress a bowl of linguine which had been mixed with roasted tomatoes but they work just as well with plain pasta, scatter over some dried chilli flakes if you fancy a little heat.

Not bad for something that cost me 25p for a fresh lemon!

Lemon and anchovy breadcrumbs for pasta

Yield: 100g

Stale bread takes on a new lease of life and perks up a simple pasta dish in this recipe for lemon and anchovy breadcrumbs.


  • 100g stale white bread, torn into smallish chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 anchovy fillets (tinned, in olive oil)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • A good glug of olive oil


  1. Pop all of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until the bread has turned into breadcrumbs and everything has combined.
  2. Pour the breadcrumbs into a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat, stirring regularly, until golden brown. Do this in batches if your pan is not large.
  3. The crumbs will crisp as they cool.
  4. Scatter over pasta.