Pasta for Tired Cooks. Bigoli in Salsa

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes I feel too tired to cook and just want to sit in my garden and be waited on! Sadly there are neither cooking fairies here nor any take away food shops nearby. In times like these, a simple recipe is called for. Bigoli in Salsa, pasta with onions and anchovies, is one of these. Believe me, even if you aren’t fond of anchovies, they vanish in the sauce, imparting a thick saltiness. I happen to be very fond of the little salty fish.

Bigoli in Salsa is traditionally eaten on the evening before the Venetian festival of La Festa del Redentore on July 19th, an event that commemorates the end of the year-long plague that struck Venice in 1575, killing 50,000 people.

Bigoli pasta is very similar to spaghetti, only a little thicker, and available only in and around the Veneto.  Casareccia makes a comforting and redeeming substitute.


Bigoli in Salsa/Pasta in onion and Anchovy sauce. For two as a main.

  • 2 large brown onions, sliced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt, pepper,
  • finely chopped parsley
  • 200 g casareccia or other pasta. ( 1oo g per person)

Heat heavy based frying pan and slowly cook the onions in oil for at least 10 minutes. Watch it like a hawk as the onions must soften, not brown or caramelise. Or use a heat mat to slow down the cooking.

Add the anchovies and squash into the sauce. Add the wine, salt and pepper, and continue cooking very slowly for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in ample salted water until al dente, then drain.  (Never rinse the pasta after cooking, as this destroys the starch which helps the sauce adhere.) Add the pasta to the pan of onion sauce and turn around a little, adding the parsley.  Serve.


I like mine plain while Signore Tranquillo likes his with shaved parmigiano, reggiano or padano.


29 thoughts on “Pasta for Tired Cooks. Bigoli in Salsa”

      1. It was nice to not have to fluff around in the kitchen too much. The wine I opened was unfortunately warm. It’s now in the freezer. Must have a beer while waiting. Will be practicing for the tumbleweeds later as the boys are in Udaipur.


  1. Is that your garden? It’s gorgeous. I love your posts Francesca – you always throw in little things that make me go ‘really?’ like 50,000 people died in one year from the plague in Venice? That must have wiped out the city. I love the look of this pasta too – simple and tasty and no fluffing about.


    1. It is true, Nancy, about Venice being decimated ( and Florence) by the Plague. These towns took almost a century to recover from this second wave of the plague. No fluff pasta, this one is a Friday night special.


    1. That pasta dish seems so simple but then it relies on caciocavollo cheese- and I rarely have that on hand. When I do, I make this dish. To get that creamy texture is not so straighforward though.


  2. It’s possibly indicative of the busyness lf the cook, the lack of fairies and our pickiness re takeaway offerings that I only just commented to, the G.O., no more pasta for a while, but when it’s back on the menu, this would be wonderful for Friday nights 🙂
    I too love the photo of your garden. Wish I was there with a glass of wine!


    1. Pasta does tend to be the way out of this dilemna. Mr T can cook Spaghetti Napoli, his desperado dish! Good to have a break from the pasta though. Come any time for a drink!


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