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A fantastic Spaghetti alla Puttanesca recipe using fresh cherry tomatoes, capers, olives and garlic it’s packed full of flavour and ready in minutes!
Spaghetti alla puttanesca which means whore’s spaghetti in English is such a fresh, classic Italian dish made with tomatoes, capers, anchovies, olives, garlic and olive oil. It’s so simple and incredibly delicious and makes a perfect weeknight family meal.
Why does this delicious pasta dish have such a strange name? Well, the true origin behind the name is not known for definite, in fact some early edition Italian cookbooks such as the famous Cucchiaio D’Argento (The Silver Spoon) doesn’t even contain such a recipe although there are variations that are very similar.
My favourite story of where the spaghetti alla puttanesca recipe came from is that it was invented in the 1950s by a popular restaurant owner. The restaurant was near to closing with some hungry people still left waiting and not a lot of food left in the kitchen. The customers were tried and hungry and apparently insisted “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi” or “make any kind of garbage” so with only some tomatoes, olives and capers Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca was created and stayed on the menu from that day.
For this recipe, I’m using fresh cherry tomatoes instead of tinned tomatoes which adds a lovely sweetness and freshness to the dish.
First I add anchovies, garlic and a little oil to a large pan until the anchovies start to dissolve. Then the cherry tomatoes, capers, chili flakes and olives are added. As the pasta water boils the cherry tomatoes stew down into a luscious, flavour packed sauce. I add a little pasta water around 50-80 ml if the tomatoes start to dry out. You don’t want the sauce to have very much liquid.
Once the spaghetti is ready, drain and add to the tomatoes then stir and add some parsley. This is one delicious, easy and quick weeknight meal that everyone will enjoy.
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For more simple pasta dishes try; penne with ricotta, pancetta and tomato sauce, creamy sausage linguinee, creamy butternut squash pasta, orecchiette with radicchio, peas and smoked pancetta
- 12.6 oz (360g) spaghetti
- 1.1 lb (500g) cherry toamtoes , cut in half
- 1.2 oz (2 tbsp/35g) capers
- 1.2 oz (90g) black olives
- 6 anchovy fillets
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1 small bunch parsley
- 1 garlic clove , peeled
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add one tbsp of olive oil to a large pan with the anchovy fillets and whole garlic clove. Fry for 30-60 seconds until the anchovies start to melt.
Add the cherry tomatoes, capers, chilli flakes and olives to the pan and stir togther. Add the spaghetti to the pot of water and cook according to packet instructions until al dente.
Stir the tomato mixture occasionally as it starts to break down into a sauce (it won't have much liquid but shouldn't be dry) if the toamtoes start to dry up add a little splash of pasta water and stir. You may need to do this 2-3 times.
Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and add to the tomatoes, stir and add some parsley. Serve immediatley.
Please not this recipe was tested and developed using metric measurements all imperial measurements are approximate