13 Nov Spaghetti alla Puttanesca


Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

13 November 2021

PREP. TIME: 10 MIN   -   COOK TIME: 5 mins   -   SERVES: 2

This classic pasta dish is found in the Lazio region of Italy and in Naples. In Naples it is also known as Maccheroni alla Marinara.  

The brilliance of Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is that it is made of ingredients that can always be on hand, allowing you to cook and serve a nourishing and delicious meal in less than 20 minutes.

The prep should be done while you boil the water for the pasta. The sauce can be finalised in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Not draining the spaghetti into a colander reduces mess and stress and ensures that pasta water is transferred with the cooked spaghetti which helps to thin the sauce.

Be sure to use sturdy Italian spaghetti made from durham wheat. Brands such as De Cecco, Barilla and La Molisiana are readily found in supermarkets and grocery stores. This is recommended because if the pasta over cooks - the pasta made from durham wheat is much more forgiving. You need to remove the pasta from the water just as it becomes al dente because the pasta will continue cooking in the sauce.

This recipe is enough for 2 people - double or triple the quantities. Be sure though to use a pot and pan big enough to properly cook the pasta and the sauce.

Recipe Template


250 g Spaghetti

1 clove garlic

50 g pitted black Olives

130 g crushed tomatoes

3 anchovy fillets in olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano OR

1 teaspoon dried oregano

A few capers


Extra virgin olive oil


Chopping board and kitchen knife

Large pot 

Large frypan - must be big enough to toss the pasta in the sauce

Metal stirring spoon

Metal tongs or Spider

Serving dish


Step 1 - Prepare the ingredients:

Heat the serving dish and pasta plates or bowls

Bring a pot of water to the boil

Peel and chop the garlic in half

Wash and chop the parsley and oregano

Rinse and chop the anchovy

Rinse the olives and capers

If using tinned tomatoes - open the tin and set aside

Step 2 - Cook

Salt the boiling water with a tablespoon of salt .

Add the pasta and push it into the water to soften, toss it through the water with the tongs to separate them.

Heat the pan and cover the base with olive oil

Over moderate heat add 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, the oregano, and anchovy and fry gently.

When aromatic, add the olives and capers and tomato pulp.

Cook the sauce for at least 5 minutes until the pasta is almost cooked. 
Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Step 3 - Assembly

Taste the pasta before the suggested cooking time on the packet. 

While the pasta is still firm to the bite - but almost soft enough to eat enjoyably - remove it from the boiling water - using the tongs. Toss the pasta in the sauce coating every strand before adding more pasta. Continue in this way until all of the pasta has been added to the sauce.  Rather than adding more oil to the pan at this stage, try adding a tablespoon or two of water to loosen the sauce a little.

Step 4 - To Serve

Transfer to the heated serving dish.

Drizzle with more olive oil.

Serve immediately with extra oil and salt and pepper.


Recipe adapted by Elizabeth Peddey from Delicious Rome & Lazio Recipes, a book by Delicious Italy cookbook series

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