it en


It is one of the typical Christmas dishes of Cetara! Few and simple ingredients that together give a unique dish with an unmistakable flavor, fast and easy to make, in which is held the ancient tradition of anchovy fishing and their conservation.

by Annalisa Russo

The Colatura di Alici is a typical fish sauce from Cetara, a small fishing town of the Amalfi Coast. This sauce, registered as PDO (protected designation of origin) product in October 2020 and made from salted anchovies, is an amber-colored liquid with a strong taste. It is produced through an old and elaborate method, handed from father to son and deeply rooted in the past. 

share this article

Spaghetti with colatura di alici

Garum, the ancient Roman "colatura"

The Romans produced a sauce, known as Garum, that was similar to the colatura di alici. The Roman sauce was produced by the fermentation of small and entire fishes (probably anchovies) and big fishes cut into small pieces (perhaps mackerels or tunas) spiced up with herbs and salt.

In around the second half of the 13th century, the Cistercian monks from S.Pietro in Tuczolo near Amalfi, inspired by the old Roman recipe, made a sauce that was greater than the Garum: the colatura di alici produced by the fermentation of eviscerated and salted anchovies.

Anchovy fishing


Fishing: tradition and identity of Cetara

According to the tradition, one of the most popular Christmas Eve dishes in Cetara is the “spaghetti with Colatura di Alici”: a few simple ingredients that together create a unique flavor dish, quick and easy to make, whose recipe has a long tradition associated with the anchovies fishing and their salting process. Moreover, this typical sauce, thanks to its versatility, is usually used to add flavor to vegetables and meat. 

Fishing, today as yesterday, is one of the main livelihoods of Cetara that every year in July hosts a cultural and culinary event “La Notte delle Lampare”. This festival will allow you to take part in a fishing trip in the evocative scenery of the sea at night. The lights used as fishing attractors will glow in the dark. Meanwhile, on the shore, stands will be set up for tasting typical products, such as fried anchovies.

Nowadays spaghetti with colatura di alici is a deliciousness available at local restaurants all year round and it expresses the identity of this small town. It was born as a poor dish and its traditional version is extremely simple to make: spaghetti pasta cooked al dente in unsalted water, is combined with a raw condiment composed of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, chili pepper, colatura di alici and pasta-cooking water, in other words, a unique flavor combination. 

Do not miss this local specialty deeply rooted in the culinary tradition of Cetara. 


for 4 people

  • 400 g of spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons of "colatura di alici"
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • parsley
  • chilli pepper


Mix all the ingredients together in a serving bowl: olive oil, chopped parsley and garlic, colatura and chilli to taste. Cook the spaghetti "al dente" and, once drained, add them to the sauce with a spoonful of the pasta cooking water. Mix and decorate the spaghetti with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.


share this article