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13 May, 2014

Nigel Slater’s Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Posted in : Food, Recipes on by : Reema Tags: , , , , , ,

Anchovies are either loved or hated with a passion. The word itself makes me slightly uncomfortable and I can’t stand the sight of these slimy, tiny fish.

Nigella, Jamie Oliver and many other TV chefs have popular versions of Spaghetti alla Puttanesca which literally translated means ‘spaghetti a la prostitute/whore.’ Controversial, just like the anchovies.

I’ve made vegetarian versions of Puttanesca sauce before, always leaving out the anchovies. Mr. A tried out Nigel Slater’s recipe while I was out one night and insisted that it was one of the best pasta he has ever had. He insisted that the dish had potential to make me rethink my hatred for anchovies.

We made Nigel’s recipe for dinner a few weeks ago. The anchovies thankfully disintegrate into the dish and can’t be seen. Olives, capers and dried chilli flakes make the pasta sauce bold and fantastic.

I still can’t stand slimy anchovies but this recipe is truly incredible and must be shared.

Nigel Slater’s Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (Serves 2)



2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

400g tin of chopped tomatoes/peeled plum tomatoes

50g black olives

1/2 tablespoon capers

250, dried spaghetti

Sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese


1. Cook the spaghetti in a pot of salted, boiling water as per packet instructions.

2. Cook the garlic, dried chilli and chopped anchovies in olive oil  for a couple of minutes until the anchovies start to disintegrate. This is strangely fun to watch!

2. Once the anchovies have disintegrated (hooray), add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the olives and capers and cook for another couple of minutes.

4. Serve over cooked spaghetti.

Puttanesca is a bold and salty sauce thanks to the combination of anchovies, capers and olives.

Nigel Slater seems to think grated parmesan cheese isn’t necessary here. I beg to disagree! 😉









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