On the night that I had friends over and made the Sardine & Tomato Tart, I also made this spaghetti alla puttanesca. As both recipes involve using tinned tomatoes and a minimum of ingredients, it was easy to make both on the same evening. Whether the easiness or speediness of this dish has anything to do with its mythical origins of being related to prostitutes is now not possible to prove, but what can be attested to is the simplicity in preparation yielding a complexity of flavours.
I made this using angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti or spaghettini, which made for a less robust texture but tasted great all the same. The amount of anchovies used results in a surprisingly subtle flavour, but if these pungent fishies aren’t your cup of tea then omit and add a few extra olives instead.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
(adapted from The Age – Epicure 50 Best Recipe Cards, recipe by Jill Dupleix)
· 350g spaghetti or spaghettini
· 4 tbs olive oil
· 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
· 6 anchovy fillets
· 400g can crushed tomatoes
· 2 tbs small black olives, sliced
· 1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped
· 1 tbs small salted capers, rinsed
· 1 tbs mixed dried herbs
- Cook pasta in a pot of well-salted water until al dente.
- In the meantime heat the oil in a saucepan or frypan over medium heat and gently cook the garlic for a minute or so. Add anchovies and mash them into the oil.
- Add tomatoes, olives, chilli and capers and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add herbs and season to taste. Add drained pasta and toss through sauce evenly to serve.