Pasta Puttanesca – Dinner vice!

I am amazed that it has taken me this long to post about this dish! Pasta Puttanesca and pesto genovese are easily some of my husbands favorite meals.  I know for most people, pasta is a go-to easy meal when you are low on time. For me, this isn’t the case. I very rarely eat pasta so when I do, it has got to be something I know I will enjoy wholeheartedly!

This dish does that for me – but it ticks so many other boxes! It is filled with store cupboard staples that mean is is the perfect standby when the fridge is bare. The main box it ticks is the husband approval scale.  At the end of the day, cooking for me is about showing those around me that I love them, whether is a quick pasta dish or hours of slow cooking!

We have all heard the stories about the origins of this dish – Pasta Puttanesca literally translated means Harlots Pasta! Read into that what you will but I like to imagine it refers to gluttony as much as anything as this is a hearty and filling dish!

While my version is mostly traditional, my better half insists on the addition of meaty delicous tuna. If you are not a tuna fan, leave it out. The anchovies are mandatory though, they add that vital savory flavor to the dish, without tasting fishy. This is easily multiplied, perfect for a crowd with a simple green salad.


Pasta Puttanesca:

Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 anchovies, chopped – I buy a jar that you can reseal and store in the fridge!
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 x 400ml tin of tomatoes – I use plum and break them in the pan.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of kalamata olives, chopeed
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1 tin good quality tuna
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes or to taste
  • 200g spaghetti – I use fresh pasta
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a saucepan, bring some well salted water to the boil for the pasta. If you are using dried pasta, stick it on now -the sauce will cook in the 10 mins the pasta will take!
  2. Next, in a frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the anchovies and allow them to melt away. Add the garlic and fry for 1-2 mins but be careful not to burn it.
  3. Stir in the tin of tomatoes and all the juice. If using plum tomato, break them up with your spoon. Allow to reduce and thicken for a minute or two. (Stir in 1-2 tsp sugar if the tomatoes are a bit bitter)
  4. Now add the tuna, olives and capers and stir well to distribute. I like to stir in the chilli flakes at this point to allow the heat to permeate the dish.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning – it should not need much salt as the tuna and capers can be salty enough.
  6. When you pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of the cooking water and then drain the rest. This is very important for helping create a silky sauce.
  7. Stir the spaghetti into the sauce along with some of the pasta water. You are looking for a sauce wet enough to coat the pasta although not wet enough that it will all sink to the bottom of your plate!
  8. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan and festoon with some extra chilli flakes if you are feeling particularly gluttonous!




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