Puttanesca Pasta

, from Issue #53. April, 2016
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Puttanesca Pasta

Legend has it that this was a popular dish amongst Italy’s “ladies of the night” as it is made up almost entirely of store cupboard staples and is quick to make. I’ve topped it with a few quick roasted cherry tomatoes, but that’s optional.

Serves: 4-6


500 grams dried spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers
½-1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup large black olives
2 x 400 gram tins whole cherry tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve
Parmesan for grating
fresh oregano or flat-leaf parsley 


Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss with a little olive oil then cover to keep warm. 

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, anchovies, capers, chilli flakes, oregano and the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Don’t let the garlic catch and burn. Stir in the olives and tomatoes and season.

Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. If the pan is large enough, add the spaghetti and gently toss together then transfer to a large platter, otherwise put the pasta in a large serving bowl then pour over the sauce and combine. Top with Parmesan and fresh herbs if using.