Spaghetti With Puttanesca / Spaghetti alla puttanesca

How about a treat?

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca has its beginnings in southern Italy, in the regions called Campania and Lazio particularly. The key element of this bright, cheerful, spicy meal is the Puttanesca sauce. It’s sensual, fragrant flavours, married perfectly in the sauce, make it an excellent meal for a weeknight. Puttanesca sauce is easy and quick to make. Exploding with flavour and so easy to prepare.

Spaghetti with Puttanesca

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

A recipe from the region of Campania, Italy.

Adapted from a recipe by Silvana Lanzetta.

“Puttanesca sauce is one of the pillars of traditional Italian cuisine, with two cities that claim to be its birthplace: Rome and Naples. The difference between the two recipes is that the Roman version contains anchovies, whereas in Naples it’s made with olives and capers without anchovies.” Silvana Lanzetta

This is the Neapolitan vegetarian version, without anchovies.

Ingredients: Serves 4 either on 1 serving platter or on 4 bowls

  • 360 g dried spaghetti; alternatively use linguine or bucatini
  • Good olive oil for cooking
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 tiny pinch of crushed chilli flakes
  • 80g of pitted black olives, half chopped, half left whole
  • 80g of pitted green olives, half chopped, half left whole
  • 2 tbsp of brined capers, rinsed if packed in salt, roughly chopped
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Use a 400g tin of Italian peeled plum tomatoes instead if you prefer.
  • ½ a glass dry white wine
  • 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To begin, place the oil in a large deep pan over a medium heat. Once hot, cook the garlic, capers and chilli, if using, gently in the oil for 2 minutes. Stir often.
  2. To make your sauce even tastier, start to flavour the oil an hour before serving the pasta. Follow the recipe until step 2, then take the pan off the heat, cover, and set aside. By allowing it to rest for an hour, the oil will absorb all the flavours from the garlic and capers, resulting in an amazingly flavourful sauce.
  3. Add the oregano, cherry tomatoes, or the tinned tomatoes if using, and white wine to the pan, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Stir frequently
  4. Taste the sauce to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if required.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, bring 3 litres of salted water to the boil add the pasta and cook the according to packet instructions. Once cooked, drain the spaghetti, reserving 3 ladlesful of the pasta water.
  6. Add some of the pasta water to the sauce to loosen it slightly and add the olives and flat leaf parsley. Mix thoroughly and sauté for a few minutes.
  7. Stir the spaghetti into the sauce and toss well to combine everything with the sauce for 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately into warmed bowls.

Produced by John Fletcher at

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