Easy Caesar Spaghetti

published Apr 14, 2022
Caesar Spaghetti Recipe

Your favorite salad and spaghetti in one dish.

Serves4 to 6

Prep20 minutes

Cook20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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caesar spaghetti in a bowl
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

All hail Caesar… spaghetti!

It all started with Caesar salad. We all knew the rich, creamy, garlicky combo couldn’t be contained to a bowl of greens. There’s Caesar Roasted Broccoli, Baked Caesar Chicken, Caesar Smashed Potatoes — and now Caesar has come for your spaghetti.

And why not? Pasta loves creamy sauces and anchovies and Parm. It’s the perfect example of having fun with your food while still honoring a classic.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Although the ingredients are simple pantry staples — garlic, lemon, mustard, Parm, anchovies, pasta — they come together with an explosion of undeniably bold flavor.  If you’re new to the world of anchovies, you can ease your way into it by cutting the amount in half. But I urge you to dive in and go for it. You won’t regret the briny punch of flavor that they pack as they melt in your pan to create the base of your sauce. 

As you add the rest of your classic Caesar ingredients, the magic happens right before your eyes. It all comes together to make a luxurious sauce that coats the long strands of al dente spaghetti. Top your pasta with a generous dusting of buttery breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and fresh-cracked black pepper, and you’ll see clearly why this dish reigns supreme.

Caesar Spaghetti Recipe

Your favorite salad and spaghetti in one dish.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Salt

  • 4 ounces

    Parmesan cheese, grated (2 cups loosely packed or 1 cup store-bought), plus more for serving

  • 2

    medium lemons

  • 1/4 cup

    Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon

    coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for serving

  • 8 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 pound

    dried spaghetti

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 (2-ounce) tins

    oil-packed anchovy fillets

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, finely grate 4 ounces Parmesan cheese on the small holes of a box grater if needed (about 2 loosely packed cups), or measure out 1 cup store-bought grated. Juice 2 medium lemons until you have 1/4 cup juice. Place the Parmesan, lemon juice, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Finely chop 8 garlic cloves (3 to 4 tablespoons).

  2. Add 1 pound dried spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for 2 fewer minutes than indicated in the package directions; the desired outcome is al dente. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until toasted and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Drain 2 (2-ounce) tins anchovy fillets (1/3 cup).

  3. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Wipe out the pot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil, and place over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the anchovies and cook, stirring constantly, until they start to dissolve and look like a loose paste, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes if using and cook for 30 seconds.

  4. Increase the heat to medium high and add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved pasta water. Add the Dijon mixture and whisk until the sauce is smooth and begins to thicken slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spaghetti and cook, tossing to coat in the sauce and adding some of the remaining pasta water as needed, until the sauce thickens and clings to the pasta, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Taste and season with salt as needed.

  5. Divide the pasta among bowls and garnish with the toasted breadcrumbs, more grated Parmesan cheese, and more coarsely ground black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Pasta: You can substitute other long pastas or any rigate pasta for the spaghetti.

Make ahead: The panko can be toasted, cooled, and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat over medium heat on the stovetop, adding water as needed if the pasta is dry.