Pasta Puttanesca

If you ask me, Pasta Puttanesca or Slutty Spaghetti is greatly underrated. Having grown up in Italy this was frequently served up in my school’s canteen and it would also sometimes be rustled up at home whenever the fridge was bare. Now, years later, I found myself standing in front of an empty fridge on the last day of our holiday in Spain, bags already packed and waiting by the door, inspired to recreate this timeless old pasta dish from my school (and Uni) days.

With just half a packet of pasta, half an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a couple of beef tomatoes, a handful of capers, an old piece of parmesan from the back of the fridge and some parsley and herbs from the garden this became a satisfying summery last minute lunch.

The recipe is anything but strict so please feel free to throw in olives, anchovies and chillis if you have any, along with some passata or tomatoe sauce or puree if you have any.

You will need:

  • Olive oil
  • 3 or 4 Garlic cloves
  • Spaghetti
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Passata or tomato sauce
  • A handful of capers
  • A handful of olives, chopped
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • Parmesan, grated


  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the spaghetti along with a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil, then cook according to the packet instructions (usually around 10 minutes) until slightly al dente, then drain
  2. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil over a medium heat and add the chopped garlic and onion, then capers (and anchovies and olives if you have any), then add the tomatoes
  3. Add the drained pasta to the pan along with some passata or tomato sauce and stir well
  4. Serve onto plates and top with grated parmesan and fresh parsley!