Spaghetti alla puttanesca

A simpler, punchier, spaghetti sauce would be hard to find. Puttanesca seems to have originated in the middle of the last century and there are a few versions of the recipe around; this one is beautiful and needs nothing else.

The name translates into ‘Spaghetti in the style of a prostitute’. Makes it more exciting I think.

People turn their noses up at anchovies, olives and capers but anchovies melt away and just leave a beautiful umami flavour, capers add an exciting mild zing and the olives a satisfying saltiness; combine that with the sweetness of the tomatoes and herbiness of the oregano — sex in a frying pan! Put any preconceptions aside and open your tastebuds to this classic pasta dish.

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Servings: 2
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • enough spaghetti to feed two, generally about 80-100g per person. A slimmer spaghetti also works well here, spaghettini if you can get it.
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed*
  • 1 small red chilli deseeded and chopped*
  • 8 tinned/jarred anchovies, chopped finely (for a vegetarian/vegan version use very finely sliced sun dried tomatoes)
  • a good handful of black or green pitted olives
  • 2 very ripe tomatoes, skinned deseeded and chopped (in fact I just threw in a few cherry toms as I’m a lazy slattern!)*
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • olive oil
  • grated Parmesan to serve, if you wish (vegetarians and vegans not)

*I use frozen chopped garlic and chilli and you can even buy frozen chopped tomato which is fantastic for speed.

Instructions

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until ‘al dente. Mean time heat a big glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, chilli and anchovies, cook for a minute before adding the tomatoes, olives, capers and oregano.

Simmer and stir for a few minutes before draining the pasta (tip, never over-drain pasta as it will quickly clump, retain some of the starchy water to keep it nicely separate and unctuous) and adding the sauce. Combine the sauce and pasta using two forks.

Serve with a green salad and some good grated Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Info

Pasta

Pasta is underrated. OK so you don’t want to live on washing up bowls of the stuff but it gives you energy in the form of complex carbs and if cooked al dente it actually releases its energy quite slowly. It also acts as host to some beautifully nutritious sauces. This dish gives you lycopene from the tomatoes and some great healthy fats from the olives, olive oil and anchovies.

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Eat the spaghetti, forgetti your regretti.

Portion Guidelines

Instead of living with the bore of weighing food, counting points or calories and tapping everything you eat into a phone you can use nature’s custom-designed tool – your hands!

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