Birboni atterrati - wholemeal tagliatelle with anchovies and walnuts

A simple, storecupboard dish that's full of flavour

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Birboni is an ancient pasta of the Amalfi Coast, the origins of which lie in the housewive's kitchen.

Whenever fresh pasta was made, in order not to waste a thing, all the flour that did not end up in the pasta dough would be collected (even swept up from the floor) and reused to make into more pasta! It became so popular that factories started to make this wholemeal (whole wheat) variety of tagliatelle, sold as ‘birboni’. Obviously, it is now made with clean flour!

Birboni are usually combined with a few simple, local ingredients: anchovies and Colatura di Alici, a concentrated anchovy sauce that comes from the coastal village of Cetara. The sauce is available in Italian delis, however birboni are only obtainable in the local area, so I have substituted wholemeal (whole wheat) tagliatelle here.

Recipe adapted from Pasta Perfecto, Pavilion Books



  • Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or frying pan (skillet) set over a medium heat. Add the chilli and garlic, and sweat for 1 minute, then add the anchovy fillets and cook until the anchovies have melted. Stir in the chopped walnuts, half of the parsley, and a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked. Remove and discard the garlic cloves.
  • Drain the tagliatelle, 
add to the sauce along with the Colatura di Alici and mix well to combine. Remove from the heat and serve with the remaining parsley sprinkled over.

300g wholemeal (whole wheat) tagliatelle

6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ red chilli, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, left whole

10 anchovy fillets

60g very finely chopped walnuts

A handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp Colatura di Alici (anchovy sauce)

Sea salt

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