Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

April 25, 2021

In the traditional recipe you will not find anchovies, but I like adding them. They bring more flavour and a certain character to the dish.

Usually I prepare it for us as double portion from which I make a frittata the next day. In Italy it is a very common way of using up what is left and transforming it into another meal. And by simply frying a firm flat disc of pasta from both sides we have a crunchy and delicious frittata. A must try.

For 4 portions:

  • 400 g of spaghetti
  • about 450 ml of tomato passata (or tinned tomatoes)
  • 20 g of capers, if in salt soak them in cold water for a minimum of 30 minutes before using
  • 40 g of pitted black olives  (I very often use olive Taggiasche as well), coarsely chopped
  • 4 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • half of a small dry chilli pepper, chopped
  • a tablespoon of chopped parsley leaves
  • a pinch of dried oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

In a deep frying pan heat up 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped chilli, garlic and anchovy fillets.

Fry for a couple of minutes stirring all the time. The anchovy fillets should have melted by now creating a wonderful base for the sauce. Add the olives and drained capers into the pan. After about two minutes pour in the passata.

Season with some salt (not too much), pepper and dry oregano.

Cook the sauce on a low heat for about 15 minutes without the lid, allowing for the flavours to permeate and for the sauce to reduce a little. 

In the meantime bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop the pasta into the pot and cook until al dente, roughly one minute less than indicated cooking time on the packet’s instructions.

Drain the pasta in a colander pouring a little bit of the cooking liquid into a cup.

Put the pasta immediately into the pan with the tomato sauce, add the chopped parsley and stir  (still keeping the pan on a heat) very well. If you find the sauce too thick add a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid from cooking the pasta into the pan and stir vigorously. Taste and season again if needed.

Once the paste is well covered with the sauce it is ready to serve.