Spaghetti alla Puttanesca


Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 – 20 min.

“Puttanesca” means, well, in the “style of persons exercising the oldest profession of the world”.

Given this juicy history, there are many stories as to the origin of this well-known pasta dish from Napoli. Suffice to say it is a very tasty dish, easy on your pocket – a delightful variation of the traditional Spaghetti alla Pomodoro.

I use cherry tomatoes instead of Roma tomatoes, as it adds a bit tang to the dish.


  • 3/4 lb (340 g) Spaghetti
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 salt anchovies, rinsed or 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lb (450 g) ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) black olives cured in oil, pitted
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste (careful: anchovies or capers and olives are salty on their own)
  • 8 – 10 basil leaves, torn


Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into a small casserole and warm the anchovy fillets at a very low heat. They will melt, they must not fry (they get hard otherwise).

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil into another pan, add the sliced garlic and when they begin to sizzle add the cherry tomatoes. Do not let garlic burn. Toss the tomatoes until excess liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Cherry tomatoes should not cook to a puree, but rather remain chunky.

Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Add some salt and a few drops of olive oil. Add spaghetti and cook to directions.

When the spaghetti are about ready, add olives and anchovies to the tomato sauce, grind some pepper over it, adjust salt if necessary. Drain spaghetti, add the tomato sauce and toss gently. Serve it topped with shaves of Parmesan and decorate either with fresh basil leaves or the capers.

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