Puttanesca – it’s not what you think!

In Recipes on September 24, 2011 at 4:14 am

Not every meal has to be complicated, sometimes we are busy and a quick meal made with ingredients you have to hand is required.  This where Pasta Puttanesca comes in.  I have been making this fast and easy dish for years – whenever I am short on time or when I can’t be bothered going out to the shops.  Pasta Puttanesca, translated literally as whore’s pasta, is not so named because it is the favourite food of Italian prostitutes but because it is made from ingredients that most Italians (and Australians these days) have in their cupboard or pantry – they are whoring for ingredients in other words.  Pasta Puttanesca is not an ancient Italian dish.  It made its first appearance in the 1960s so it has been a relatively recent addition to the Italian cook’s repertoire.  The taste is salty from the olives and anchovies, piquant from the capers, and hot from the chilli flakes.

It's also pretty cheap

Pasta Puttanesca  


500g Italian dried spaghetti

425g tin Italian diced tomatoes

6 anchovy fillets (chopped)

1 tbs capers (chopped)

2 tbs black olives (chopped)

1 onion (finely diced)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1/2 – 1 tsp dried chilli flakes

pinch oregano

2 tbs olive oil

freshly ground pepper (to taste)


Heat the olive oil in a heavy based frying pan.  Add the onion, anchovies, garlic, chilli flakes and oregano and fry gently for 1 – 2 mins or until the anchovies have ‘melted’ and the onions are translucent.  Add olives and capers, fry gently for a further minute or two.  Add tinned tomatoes and 1/4 cup water.  Reduce gently for 15 – 20 mins.  Meanwhile, prepare the pasta by dropping it in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water, bring back to the boil and cook according to the directions on the packet or until al dente.  Drain the pasta well and toss in the pan with the sauce.  Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.  Serves 4

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