Pasta Puttanesca

Puttanesca means 'lady of the night' and this sauce, probably found the name attributing to its punchy mix of heat and saltiness. Traditionally from Naples in the south of Italy and typically made with capers, chilli, garlic and tomatoes, this sauce is incredibly pleasurable to eat and can be paired with a variety of dried pasta. You can also add olives, anchovies, basil or flat leaf parsley. For those who are vegetarian, leave out the anchovies and add extra capers. This is a store cupboard favourite and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes for an easy dinner, it is also rather tasty cold too. There really is no need to eat this with parmesan as it's salty enough but I can never resist a little bit of cheese.


2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 small shallot, chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
6-8 anchovy fillets
1 tbsp capers
8-10 black olives
1 tsp dried chilli flakes or 2 small chillis, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
200-300g spaghetti

In a large saucepan, bring cold water with a good tablespoon of salt to the boil for cooking the pasta. In the meantime, saute garlic slices in some olive oil in a medium pan until lightly golden, remove and set aside. Saute shallot until soft. Add chilli and anchovies and allow to soften. Add tomatoes and bring sauce to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes. Rinse olives and capers in cold water to remove the brine. Slice olives around the pip and remove the flesh, cut into quarters. Add golden garlic slices, olive pieces and whole capers to the sauce, simmer for another couple of minutes. Add parsley and a few twists of black pepper. Turn off the heat.

Boil pasta until al dente. Before draining, take half a cup of pasta water from the pot and set aside. Drain pasta thoroughly. Add pasta water to the sauce and stir in until silky. Stir the pasta through the sauce and add an extra glug of olive oil. Perfect!

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