Recipe: Spaghetti Puttanesca

I have a couple of dishes very close to my heart, which are store cupboard favourites. The kind of recipe that doesn’t need a last minute shopping stock up, because you probably have everything in there ready to go.

The first is a Nigella Lawson original, Marmite Spaghetti – trust me, try it. It’s a carb heavy spent-the-afternoon-drinking-and-need-something-to-mop-it-all-up-comfort-food special. 

The second is distinctly spicier, but no less tasty. Spaghetti Puttanesca. A mix of garlic, chilli, anchovies, tomatoes and capers, it’s hot, sharp, spicy and satisfying. Yes, again, it’s a little carb heavy, but I tend to soften this with a hefty dose of (optional) king prawns. 

As with all classic recipes, there are numerous ways to make it. I like mine pungent, spicy and strongly flavoured. I prefer it with spaghetti, and a big glass of something red. For me it’s one of those dishes that fixes just about everything. And as I mentioned in my post earlier this week, the opportunity to grab some ‘proper’ Italian ingredients for the dish had to be leapt upon. 

As with all things spicy, the heat and depth of flavour is up to you. If in doubt, reduce everything by half, and adjust every time you make it. You’ll soon learn where your preferences lie.



Spaghetti Puttanesca


160g Spaghetti

3 tbsp good olive oil

3 Garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

4 Anchovies, roughly chopped (or 1 tsp anchovy puree)

1 Chilli (or 1/2 tsp crushed chilli flakes)

50g Black olives

1 tbsp brined capers chopped

1 Tin chopped tomatoes

200g Cooked King Prawns (optional)



Put a pan of water on to boil. When boiling add spaghetti and cook til just done (al dente)

While the spaghetti cooks, put the oil in a frying pan, add the olives, anchovies, chilli, garlic and capers.

Cook on a medium heat. The anchovies will melt, and when the garlic turns golden, tip in the tomatoes.

Turn the heat up a bit, and cook to combine the flavours and reduce the liquid in the tomatoes.

It will take about four minutes or so.

When it has reduced, turn the heat off. If you’re adding the prawns, add them a little before you think it’s reduced enough, you only want to warm them through.

By this time the pasta should be done, so you can drain it, and toss it in the pan before serving.




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