Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

Eat Your Greens Pasta | Simple Provisions

Dark, glossy greens are good for you. I think they’re even better when served with a generous portion of carbs and a heavy-handed dose of cheese. My new house has a vegetable garden thoughtfully planted out by the previous owners. We have rows of kale, silverbeet and rainbow chard and this gorgeous greenery is making its way into many meals. This one is my favourite. It’s a meaty green dish, the kind that slips in the vegetables without you feeling deprived of anything more substantial. The secret is anchovies.

20140720 - rainbow chard pasta final 320140720 - rainbow chard pasta final 4

This is the point where half of you will stop reading. Anchovies are a divisive little fish that can cause strong reactions on the love/hate scale. They’re so pungent and full of flavour that when served improperly, the whack of salty, savoury umami can be too intense.

A hairy, crusty, dried-up piece of brown on a deep-pan pizza is not the best way to eat anchovies. But when a few fillets of quality anchovies are pulled from a jar and melted in a hot pan with olive oil, chilli and garlic, you have a flavour base that will make anything taste good. They’re basically nature’s MSG.

Have I convinced you to try it? Please do. You will taste a hint of fishiness, but mostly just awesome, savoury flavour. If you really just can’t bring yourself to open a jar of anchovies, you could substitute bacon, sausage or pancetta.

This sauce works best with a pasta that is sturdy enough to withstand a really good stir, this distributes the greens evenly. I tried the sauce with ravioli, but they were too delicate. Another great use for this flavour-packed sauce is to skip the pasta all together. Just spread it on a crusty piece of buttered toast and top it all off with a fried egg. A delicious breakfast.

Eat Your Greens Pasta | Simple Provisions

Eat Your Greens Pasta

Serves 4


  • 1 bunch of greens (silverbeet, rainbow chard or kale), finely chopped (stems removed for kale)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 3-6 anchovy fillets in oil, drained (depending on your anchovy love)*
  • 500g orechiette
  • Finely grated parmesan to serve


Stick a big pot of water on the stove and bring to the boil while you get the sauce started.

Place a good glug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, chilli and anchovies and cook, stirring, until the anchovies have melted and it all smells amazing, about 1 minute. Add the greens and a tablespoon of oil, tossing to combine.

Cook your pasta according to the packet’s instructions. Just before it’s done, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and add to the pan with your greens. Drain the pasta then add it all to the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and give everything a really good stir to combine, making sure the greens are evenly distributed through the pasta.

Add a drizzle of oil, season and serve topped with finely grated parmesan.

*Substitute bacon, sausage or pancetta if you’re an anchovy hater. Cook the meat before you add the garlic and chilli.


Adapted from David Prior’s “Orecchiette with Cavolo Nero” recipe in Delicious Magazine, May 2012

17 thoughts on “Eat Your Greens Pasta

  1. Shruti says:

    A wonderful plate!!! I would love to have it anytime of the day <3

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks Shruti!

  2. ladyredspecs says:

    I’m with you, anchovies are a natural flavour enhancer, and I bet they were delicious with chard. I especially like the breakfast idea, and just happen to have some gorgeous young chard on standby, tomorrow……

    1. Amelia says:

      I hope you enjoy it!

  3. M-R says:

    Sometimes I almost feel like weeping, being a vego. I remember how my husband used to LOVE anchovies, and cook them into almost all the Italian dishes he made. No more, not since, being without him, I went vego. I should dearly love to eat this …

    1. Amelia says:

      I admire your commitment to being vegetarian M-R. Temptation is everywhere I’m sure.

      1. M-R says:

        It bloody is, Amelia.
        But I know so much now about the way we raise and then slaughter our food animals that I just can’t drop this.

  4. cheri says:

    I love anchovies, sardines, too and I can’t live without my greens, so this recipe will make its way into my kitchen. Thank you.

    1. Amelia says:

      You’re welcome Cheri. I’m a sardine fan too. I live a long way from the coast, so these little fishes give me a seafood hit.

  5. Beautiful pics and delicious plate

  6. I love that you’ve added anchovies into this sauce Amelia – such a huge flavour boost! I also love your breakfast idea of serving this on toast, topped with an egg… sounds wonderful!

    1. Amelia says:

      I think anything topped with an egg is quite wonderful Margot!

  7. This is a delicious and simple recipe typically served in Puglia. Every time I eat it or see gorgeous pictures like yours of the dish it takes me back to the beautiful coast line and delicious eateries of that perfect Region! Thank you Amelia

  8. Delicious and quick dish! Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. I’m so with you, lady! Adore anchovies, this is one of my favourite dishes. Always love seeing how others make it. LOVE x

    1. Amelia says:

      It’s gotten a good run in my house lately as the garden is full of greens, which make a meal when I can’t be bothered going to the shops.

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