Go Back
spaghetti with salt cod (baccalà) alla ghiotta
Print Recipe
5 from 16 votes

Spaghetti with Baccalà (salt cod) alla ghiotta

This typical Sicilian recipe for spaghetti with baccalà (salt cod) can be made into 2 delicious dishes. Serve the sauce with pasta and the fish and potatoes as another meal or course.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Sicilian, Southern Italian
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, baccalà, salt cod, seafood pasta, Sicilian food, Sicilian pasta, spaghetti
Servings: 4
Calories: 1078kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 600 g salt cod/ baccala (1.3lbs) prepared for cooking
  • 400 g spaghetti (14oz) I used spaghetti alla chitarra but normal spaghetti is good too.
  • 1 onion peeled
  • 2 celery medium sized stalks
  • 50 g green olives (2oz) destoned (I used taggiasche)
  • 2 tbsp capers (I used salted)
  • 400 g tomato passata (14oz) preferably rustica which is chunkier
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • 4 potatoes peeled medium (optional)
  • salt for pasta
  • freshly ground black pepper. to taste


  • Begin by putting the salted capers (if using) in a bowl, rinse them well to get rid of the salt. 
  • Chop the onion and celery into small pieces.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet.  Add the onion, celery, olives and capers and cook until the onion becomes translucent.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes, cut in half. and when they start to soften add the passata and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Cut the salt cod into medium sized pieces and add it to the sauce.
  • Add pepper to taste.
  • If you are going to use potatoes, peel them and cut them into pieces similar to the size of the fish. Add the potatoes to the sauce when you add the salt cod. Cover the pan, lower the heat and let everything cook together until the potatoes are cooked.
  • .If you are not using potatoes then just cover the sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes. If the sauce becomes to dry you can add a bit of water.
  • In the meantime cook the spaghetti al dente in boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet. (don’t use a lot of salt because the fish and capers may still be salty)
  • Transfer half the baccalà and the potatoes to a dish and cover. You can serve this as a main course or the next day as a separate meal.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the remaining sauce, mix together well. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve


Preparation and cooking times do not include the time required to prepare the salt cod if you are making your own. I have made my own and also used ready hydrated baccalà
For homemade salt cod (baccalà)
I bought a nice frozen Norwegian  600 g cod fillet, defrosted it,  patted it dry and left it in the fridge covered top and bottom in sea salt for 2 days. It's a good idea to occasionally drain any water that might have accumulated at the bottom of the dish. I then washed off the salt and let the cod soak for a couple of hours, changing the water every now and again. It was then ready to cook.