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Lemon and Toasted Hazelnut Spaghetti

November 4, 2014


Lemon and Toasted Hazelnut Spaghetti - 2Teaspoons Tap any photo to Pin

This pasta is full of surprises. Toasted breadcrumbs combine with ground hazelnuts and butter to add texture. Pasta water and egg yolks add a carbonara-esque creaminess. Sautéed anchovies and garlic add richness of flavor, and a squirt of lemon juice keeps everything light and fresh. This all adds up to one tasty pasta dish!

Lemon and Toasted Hazelnut Spaghetti - 2Teaspoons

The anchovies are my favorite addition. The pasta does not taste fishy, but that’s the secret of anchovies. They don’t taste fishy. I think of them more as a spice, because they appear – unexpectedly to me – in unfishy places like Worcestershire sauce and Caesar salad dressing. In this pasta, they add a rich saltiness to the pasta that’s almost meaty.

Lemon and Toasted Hazelnut Spaghetti - 2Teaspoons

If you are wondering how to buy anchovies, just make sure you get some that have been filleted and packed in oil. I’m not picky about which brand of anchovies I buy, and the tin can you are picturing works wonderfully (the 2 oz cans are exactly the right amount for this recipe). If you are looking for more advice, here’s a thorough brand-by-brand breakdown.

Lemon and Toasted Hazelnut Spaghetti - 2Teaspoons

Begin by sautéing garlic and anchovies in a large skillet with butter. Add in the breadcrumbs and ground hazelnuts and keep toasting for another 10 minutes. At this point in the recipe, I always burn my tongue on the breadcrumb mixture. I know it’s hot, but it’s so delicious I just can’t resist tasting it! Once they’re all toasty, toss them in a little lemon zest and thyme. Mmmm!

Lemon and Toasted Hazelnut Spaghetti - 2Teaspoons

Boil the pasta as usual, but reserve about 2 cups of the water when you drain it. The starches in the pasta water make the sauce stick to the pasta instead of creating a watery mess on your plate. Once you drain the pasta and return it to the pot, stir-in the egg-yolks (don’t let them scramble!) and the lemon juice. Slowly add the pasta water until you like the consistency of the pasta. I usually don’t need the full 2 cups. Then stir in most of the breadcrumbs, plate, and top with extra breadcrumbs, a drizzle of olive oil and squirt of lemon juice. A little lemon wedge on the side is a nice touch. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Lemon and Toasted Hazelnut Spaghetti - 2Teaspoons


Lemon and Toasted Hazelnut Spaghetti

Rich anchovies, garlic and thyme flavored hazelnut breadcrumbs tossed with creamy, lemony pasta!
Course Main
Servings 4
Author 2Teaspoons


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 anchovies 2 oz can (chopped/diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup ground hazelnuts about 2.5 oz by weight
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup fresh thyme chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 pound pasta spaghetti, angel hair
  • 2 egg yolks beaten
  • juice of 2 lemons


  1. Grind hazelnuts in food processor and toss with breadcrumbs
  2. Heat butter and oil in large skillet on med-low, and sauté garlic and anchovies until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in breadcrumbs and hazelnuts to coat with oil. Continue toasting, stirring constantly until breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Toss with lemon zest and thyme. Set aside.
  3. Bring pasta and water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups pasta water. Place drained pasta back in the hot pot. Slowly pour in lemon juice and egg yolks, stirring constantly to coat. Pour in reserved pasta water until desired moisture is reached. Toss with most of the breadcrumbs.
  4. Plate and serve immediately with extra breadcrumbs, a drizzle of olive oil and lemon wedges.


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Recipe Rating

  1. Avatar for Mary


    I like your blog. I grew up on a very bland diet with the same few things being served night after night. I wouldn’t even think of the things you put together so thank you for the great ideas!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thank’s for your kind words Mary! I’m happy to hear you enjoy the blog! My mom passed along her love of cooking, but I’ve definitely developed a much more adventurous palette on my own. I enjoy sharing my favorite flavor combinations and love to hear your thoughts each time you give them a try! It’s incredible to see people making my recipes – Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Avatar for Judy @ I

    Judy @ I'm Bored, Let's Go

    Pasta and anchovies…2 of my husband’s favorite things to eat! Will have to give this a try soon!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Hi Judy! That’s super exciting! Let me know what he thinks of the dish when you make it 🙂

  3. Avatar for Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    Oh this looks so good! Anchovies are SUCH a great secret ingredient. When I worked in the French restaurant, we put them in all kinds of dishes to give great flavor. I wish I had a bowl of this pasta for dinner right now!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks Liz! I was really impressed with how much flavor the anchovies added to the dish! I bet those French dishes were fabulous – I absolutely LOVE French restaurants and French sauces 🙂

Hi! I'm Karen, the recipe creator, photographer, and food fanatic here at 2Teaspoons. I love delicious food and I love sharing it with great people like you. Welcome to my dinner table, pull up a chair! Read More… →

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