Pasta Puttanesca or Sluts Spaghetti

Pasta Puttanesca -A Cookbook Collection

…or Tart’s Pasta if you are more of a lady like Delia. I prefer Nigella’s description.  This is adapted from her version in Kitchen. There are a lot of theories as to how the dish originated and how it got it’s name, but basically the dish came from a need to make a quick tasty meal with ingredients that you would find in your cupboard.

I often make pasta with a simple tomato sauce for a quick midweek meal but I had never tried this. I didn’t see the attraction to be perfectly honest. Then I was having lunch recently in The Cornstore and it was on the menu. It was delicious! So the other night my resident Olive Hater was out so it was dinner for one. I decided to try making it myself. I had all of the ingredients needed apart from anchovies. So I decided to increase the amount of capers instead and it tasted great. I have yet to be converted to the joys of anchovy anyway so this suited me well. It also keeps the dish vegetarian. If you do want to use anchovies, use about 6 fillets and halve the amount of capers. Cook the anchovies first in the olive oil until they have almost melted. Then work from there with the rest of the recipe.

Honestly, you can have this on the table in under 20 minutes and it tastes like something you put a lot more work into. You can also freeze any leftover sauce.

You’ll have to excuse this pics, these are from my phone as my camera battery died just as I started.

Serves 4-5



  • 400g spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 110g black pitted olives (230g jar, drained weight 110g)
  • 2  heaped tbsp. capers, rinsed if in salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • A handful of basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp. of tomato purée
  • 450g tomato passata or 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Black pepper
  • Rockets leaves & parmesan to garnish



  • Start by putting a large put of water on to boil for the pasta.
  • Chop the olives or what I do is put the olives and capers into a pestle and mortar and give them a good bash together. I like to do this because it leaves some chunks of olive but allows the rest to melt into the sauce.
  • Heat the oil in a large wide pan over a medium heat and crush and add the garlic to the oil. After a few minutes add the capers, olives, chilli flakes and tomato purée. Tear up the basil leaves and add them now. Cook the mixture for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and a good bit of black pepper. Reduce the heat simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • When you add the tomatoes put the spaghetti into the pot of boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions.
  • Drain the pasta and reserve a small bit of the cooking water.
  • Taste the sauce, it should not need any salt because of the olives and capers, but season as you need.
  • Add the spaghetti and the reserved cooking water to the sauce and mix well. The cooking water will help the sauce to mix with the pasta better.
  • Serve with a grating of parmesan or suitable veggie substitute and some rocket leaves.



Pasta Puttanesca - A Cookbook Collection






0 thoughts on “Pasta Puttanesca or Sluts Spaghetti

  1. For those who want to use anchovies, add them with minced garlic to the heated olive oil at low-to-medium heat. The ensuing fragrance is enough for you to expect an ambrosial pasta puttanesca ten minutes later!

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