Spaghetti Puttanesca (Tomato, anchovy, olive and garlic spaghetti)



Spaghetti Puttanesca (Tomato, anchovy, olive and garlic spaghetti)

There are dishes whose flavor derives not only from the simple and smart mix of ingredients, but also by the legends that accompany them. Fettuccine Alfredo, spaghetti alla Nerano or arrabbiata pasta, for example. Surely spaghetti puttanesca (tomato, anchovy, olive and garlic spaghetti) is also a favorite with its savory condiments: peeled tomatoes, Gaeta olives, capers, and anchovy fillets give these spaghetti a unique taste. But it is also the unusual name of the recipe that makes it even more appetizing and arouses curiosity about its origins, which are disputed to be between Lazio and Campania. The spiciest and most imaginative stories are born behind the closed doors of houses, as a very quick dish to prepare with a few simple ingredients. Others trace it back to the culinary fantasies of Antonio De Curtis, aka Totò. Still others lead back to the first spaghetti alla puttanesca in Ischia, in the famous night club Rangio Fellone of the 50s. It was here that this quick and somewhat arranged preparation with what was left in the pantry was created with olives, capers, anchovies and some tomatoes. The term "alla puttanesca" would indicate precisely that this is an improvised, easy and very quick preparation. Since then it seems that the dish has become a staple of restaurant menus, and has spread beyond the island as a traditional Italian dish.

Spaghetti 0.7 lb (320 g)
Peeled tomatoes 1.7 lbs (800 g)
Salted capers 2 tsp (10 g)
Parsley 1 small bunch - to be chopped
Anchovies in oil 1 oz (25 g)
Gaeta olives ½ cup (100 g)
Garlic 3 cloves
Dried chili pepper 2
Extra virgin olive oil 2 ½ tbsp (30 g)
Fine salt to taste

How to prepare Spaghetti Puttanesca (Tomato, anchovy, olive and garlic spaghetti)

To make puttanesca pasta, first rinse the capers under running water to remove excess salt 1, then dry them and chop them coarsely 2. Take the pitted gaeta olives and crush them with the blad of a knife 3.

Wash and dry the parsley, then chop it 4. Place a pot full of water over heat and bring to the boil (salt when it boils); it will be used to cook the pasta. In the meantime, pour the oil, the peeled whole garlic cloves and chopped dried chilli pepper 5 into a large pan. Add the anchovy filets 6

and desalinated capers 7. Brown over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently, so the anchovies melt and release their aroma. After this time, pour in the lightly crushed peeled tomatoes 8, stir with a spoon, and cook for another 10 minutes over medium heat. Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti al dente 9.

When the sauce is ready, remove the garlic cloves 10 and add the crushed olives 11. Flavour the sauce with fresh chopped parsley 12.

In the meantime the pasta will also finish cooking. Drain it directly into the pan 13 and sauté for half a minute, just enough time to mix all the flavors together 14. Serve the spaghetti alla puttanesca very hot 15.


We recommend that you eat the spaghetti alla puttanesca immediately, but if there is any left over you can store it covered in the fridge for a day. Freezing is not recommended.


When tomatoes are in season, you can make a good fresh sauce. This dish is very tasty so we recommend not adding additional salt!