The Pantry Pasta

The story behind Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is almost as rich and delightful as the “saucy” sauce itself. Rumour has it that this dish was first invented in the brothels of Naples! With its basic and accessible ingredients, the story claims that this pasta was a cheap and easy meal working girls could throw together in the evenings to accommodate their busy schedules.
Whatever the origins of this spaghetti, there is no better pasta for lockdown than this one. Made almost exclusively made from pantry ingredients, this low-maintenance recipe is quick and simple yet bursting with flavours. Its namesake is the ultimate double entendre because its flavours are fiery and intense. If you are short on time or ingredients, or just don’t want to make a trip to the shops, spaghetti alla puttanesca is your one-stop solution to all your problems.
For this recipe, I have sourced all my ingredients from my favourite pantry stuffer, Simon Johnson. The only fresh ingredients, parsley and garlic, have been sourced from LoSurdos and are optional but highly recommended. If you would like to include a more hearty protein in this recipe, I recommend pairing it with some seared tuna from Steve Costi's Seafood.


2 dried chillies (or chilli flakes)
2 tablespoons salted capers
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
8 anchovy fillets (I always go for Ortiz!)
600 grams canned whole plum tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
300 grams pasta (linguine or spaghetti)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
A handful of fresh parsley


1. Prepare your ingredients. Peel and crush garlic cloves. Roughly chop chilli and capers. Crush olives with back of knife. Finely chop parsley. Pour canned tomatoes into a bowl and crush with fork.

2. Bring a pot of water to boil and salt it. Add pasta and cook for about 12 minutes till al dente.


3. While pasta is cooking, drizzle a generous pour of olive oil into a fry pan and heat on a medium high flame.  Add your garlic cloves and sauté for about 30 seconds. When the garlic begins to colour, add chopped chilli, salted capers and anchovies. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes until the anchovies start to dissolve. 

4. Pour in your crushed tomatoes and season with some salt and pepper to taste. Add olives to sauce. Bring to a boil and continue to stir occasionally until the tomatoes breakdown and the sauce begins to reduce, about 10 minutes. Add half of your chopped parsley and stir through quickly for 30 seconds. Remove garlic from sauce.


5. Using a pair of tongs, transfer your cooked pasta directly from pot to the fry pan. Don’t worry if some water goes into the sauce, this will reduce and make the pasta even more saucy.  Toss pasta and sauce in fry pan until your sauce is well-incorporated through the pasta. Add the remainder of your parsley and serve!