The first time I ate puttanesca we were camping and my friend, Bethanne, produced this salty, rich pasta dish from the campfire stove. It was quite extraordinary to see an Italian feast being whipped up in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. It’s not quite so epic cooking in my Suffolk kitchen but the dish still fills me with a deep satisfaction. I always keep the ingredients for puttanesca in my cupboard because it’s fast to make so if I’m short on time or energy I can have the whole meal ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta. Don’t be put off by the anchovies, they dissolve into the sauce making it salty and rich and they bring intense nutrition to the dish.

Fish with omega-3 fatty acids is good for your heart and brain health. It also has selenium which is good for protecting good mental health.

Serves 2 Adults & 2 Kids

60ml olive oil
1/2 head of garlic
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
50g tin of anchovies
1 400g tin of whole tomatoes
75g pitted black olives
50g capers and brine
300g spaghetti
small bunch parsley
1/2 lemon

  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta then once it’s boiling add the pasta and cook until al dente. Put the olive oil and oil from the anchovies tin into a large frying pan on a medium/low heat. Add the chilli flakes and finely chopped garlic to the oil and cook gently until you can smell the garlic aroma. Make sure the heat is low enough so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Once the garlic is fragrant, add the anchovies and stir. Add the tomatoes and squash gently into the sauce. Whole tomatoes taste better and create a smoother texture compared to chopped tomatoes. Turn the heat up until the tomatoes bubble then reduce the heat again to simmer. Cut the olives in half then add to the sauce along with the capers.
  • Once the pasta is cooked drain and immediately add to the sauce. Finely chop the parsley and add to the sauce then toss to coat the pasta. Squeeze over the lemon juice and finish with slivers of parmesan and another sprinkle of parsley.


Published by One Tough Cooker

I'm the writer at One Tough Cooker. My experience with post-natal depression has shaped my appreciation for the family cook. We make thousands of meals to feed our families' tummies, hearts and minds.

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