Rather than being just spaghetti, bigoli are traditionally a thick pasta made with buckwheat or wholewheat flour. I like to balance the dish with some balsamic vinegar.






Skill level

Average: 1.4 (55 votes)


  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large brown onions, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 12 anchovy fillets, finely chopped, plus extra fillets to serve (optional)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • 200 g (7 oz) wholewheat flour
  • 200 g (7 oz) superfine semolina (semola rimacinata), plus extra for dusting
  • 2 eggs

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time: 30 minutes

  1. To make the pasta, place a mound of flour on your work surface and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the well. Start whisking the eggs gently with the tines of a fork, adding 100-120 ml water as you go, incorporating a bit of flour at the same time. Keep whisking with the fork, making an ever-widening circle as you incorporate more flour. The mixture will eventually become too thick for you to use the fork, so start using your fingertips, working the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you have used up most of the dry ingredients and a ball of dough forms. You may need to add a bit of water or flour to get the right consistency. Kneed for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with an upturned bowl and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes, then roll out and shape as desired.
  2. Cut the dough into quarters. Working with one portion at a time, roll it out on a surface that has been lightly dusted with superfine semolina. You can use a pasta machine or rolling pin to roll it to a 3 mm (¹⁄8 in) thickness. Place the rectangle of dough on the narrower strings of a chitarra and, using a rolling pin, press on the dough so that the metal strings cut it into strips. Dust the prepared pasta with superfine semolina and cover with a clean tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with the remaining dough. If you don’t have a chitarra, dust the pasta with superfine semolina, then loosely roll it up and cut it into 3 mm (¹⁄8 in) wide strips with a knife.
  3. Heat the olive oil and onion in a medium–large frying pan over medium–low heat, stirring frequently. The onion needs to cook slowly until it is translucent and starting to fall apart. It should not brown; reduce the heat if it starts to do this. After 15 minutes, add the anchovy to the onion and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or so. At the last minute, add balsamic vinegar and pepper to taste.
  4. Place a large saucepan of salted water to the boil (don’t add too much salt as the sauce can be quite salty). Drop in the pasta and cook until al dente (the cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness of the pasta). Drain, reserving a little of the pasta water in a cup.
  5. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir it well to coat. It should be a wet but dense sauce, so add some of the reserved cooking water if it looks a bit dry. Serve on warmed plates, topped with parsley and extra anchovy fillets, if you like.


Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00