Spaghetti alla puttanesca

I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I take pasta for granted. It’s something that I know will be served at least once or twice a week in my house. I’m never content with just an ordinary sauce (and it’s a sad, sad day when a store brought pasta sauce makes it into my kitchen!)

As Italian cooking is region based, I am always finding new pasta recipes in books, and blogs. One of my favourite sauces to whip  up is Puttanesca. A rather unsavoury name, it was first made by the poor living on the streets.

The sauce cooks in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. It is meant to have chilli in it, but as I was cooking for family members who cannot eat anything hot at the moment I didn’t.

There are many variations of this recipe (and some including vodka!) however I have used a Nigella recipe.


  • Olive oil
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 2 garlic gloves peeled and finely sliced or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 150g pitted black olives
  • 2 x tbls capers (drained and rinsed)
  • Chopped parsley to serve

Boil water for the pasta. While you are following the steps below, keep an eye on the water. Once it starts to boil, add the pasta and cook as per the instructions on the packet.

Pour the oil into a wide frying pan on medium heat. Add the anchovies and cook for about 3 minutes, prodding with a wooden spoon until they have almost melted. Add the garlic and chili.

Add the tomatoes, olives and capers and cook for about 10 or so minutes. The sauce should thicken a little. Taste for seasoning but I find as the anchovies are very salty there is usually no need to add any salt.

Once the pasta is cooked, take a small (1/3 cup) of water from the pan and set aside. drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Add a little of the water set aside, as it will help the sauce blend with the pasta.

Add the chopped parsley if desired.


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