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Hells Canyon Pasta

Hells Canyon Pasta has its origins in the Pacific Northwest of the 1950s.

Bob Sule, an adventurous teen-ager then living in Clarkston, Washington, liked to go white water rafting down Idaho's Salmon River, which shoots into the Snake River, separating Washington and Oregon from Idaho.

Hells Canyon was the dinner stop.

"The guides would pull the rafts out of the water, build a campfire out of driftwood and make this pasta with slabs of grilled Ellensburg beef on the side," he said.

"They always rinsed out their tomato cans with a little red wine, and poured that solution into the pan, too."

Now living in Cranberry and no longer white water rafting, Bob has made Hells Canyon Pasta a staple in his cooking repertoire, passing the recipe on to his children.

As for Hells Canyon Pasta, Bob urges cooks to be creative with the recipe.

"Don't use anchovies if you don't want to," he said. "Throw in some onions or diced chicken, some oregano or black olives. Have fun with it."

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  • 1 (16 ounce) box linguine or other pasta
  • 1 (2 ounce) can flat anchovies in olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 large fresh banana pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Put pasta water on to heat. When boiling, add pasta and cook according to directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil from anchovies over medium heat. Add garlic, pepper and anchovies. Stir, mashing anchovies, until peppers are just tender and anchovies are liquefied.
  3. Add tomatoes with juice and capers. Season to taste and stir to combine well.
  4. When thoroughly heated, add mixture to cooked pasta, toss and serve.

Serves 6 generously.