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Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca, Italian Style

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“I first was introduced to this recipe when I was reading the book, "Belong to Me", when the main character "would have sold her soul" for a plate of this. I had to do further research and hours later, found a recipe that I was happy with sharing. There are American versions of this and Italian versions of this. The Italian version has you begin by reducing the anchovies into a paste, reducing their fishy taste. It also has you cook the sauce longer, mingling the flavours and reducing the tomatoes into their own paste. Although excellent the 1st day, it is even better the second so plan ahead to make more! And please, RESIST the urge to cover this with cheese! Italians customarily do not use cheese in this dish; the cheese overwhelms the sauce and makes the anchovies more pronounced, unbalancing all the delicate flavours you just worked so hard to create.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 12 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 anchovy fillets, chopped (NOTE ( I used a 2 ounce can of Reese Rolled anchovies with capers added. Drained the anchovy oil fr)
  • 12 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) canwhole peeled italian roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped (Do not drain! Avoid regular tomatoes. They don't hold up well in cooking, and tend to make your sauc)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped small (or 1/2 tsp dried oregano)
  • 2 tablespoons capers (Rinsed well to remove the very salty brine)
  • 8 -10 kalamata olives, pitted and julienned (Purists use unpitted olives. I use pitted, as they're easier to work with. If you get the unpitted v)


  1. Put all but 1 Tbs of the olive oil and the anchovies in a large skillet over a low heat and cook, stirring and mashing the anchovies until dissolved into a paste.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, taking care not to brown it (garlic gets bitter if browned).
  3. Raise the heat to a medium-high and add the tomatoes and juice, with a pinch of salt. When the sauce comes to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer until the tomatoes have reduced and separated from the oil. This will probably take 20-40 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and set aside. If you want, you can now refrigerate the sauce and save for the next day.
  5. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, add 1 tbs of salt, and drop in the pasta all at once, stirring until the strands are submerged. If you have a smaller pot, you can use less than 4 quarts of water, but you must constantly stir the spaghetti for one minute.
  6. When the pasta is almost done, return the skillet with the sauce to a medium heat, adding the oregano, capers, and olives. Simmer 3-5 more mins, no more. Cooking too long after capers and olives have been added will make sauce taste less fresh and more salty. (Trust me.).
  7. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and toss with 1/2 cup of the sauce, to pre-flavour it and prevent it from sticking. Ladle pasta into serving dishes, taste sauce for salt, pour sauce over each serving bowl and serve at once.
  8. This dish is also great when served with penne or fusilli.

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