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Lili’s Spaghetti Puttanesca

I am a huge fan of ‘whore’s spaghetti’, not only is it stupidly easy to make but the explosion of really strong flavours make it a perfect choice for a winter supper. From the tang of the capers, to the heat of the dried chilli and the saltiness of the anchovies, every mouthwatering forkful is packed with kick-arse deliciousness. On a chilly evening, this can be thrown together in about 25 minutes with ingredients that are generally lurking in the larder.

So here, I share my recipe for this Italian favourite.


2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red onion, chopped
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
8 anchovy fillets (I prefer the tinned rather than the oily bottled ones) *
4 tbsp olive oil
800g chopped tomatoes
500g dried spaghetti
100g black olives (don’t buy pre-pitted olives as you’ll get better texture and flavour from unpitted. I use the ones from the deli counter, they are so delicious when soaked in the sauce)
1 tbsp capers, crushed
a large glug of good red wine

Pop the water for your pasta on a high heat, salt liberally and bring to a fierce boil.
In a large frying pan, soften the onion and the garlic in the olive oil. Add the anchovy fillets and the chilli flakes and cook until those delicious little anchovies start to melt.
Add the chopped tomatoes and a very healthy glug of red wine. Bring to the boil then turn down and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the sauce is rich, dark red and glossy. Stir the olives and the capers through the sauce and turn the heat down.
Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until it still has some bite. Pop a couple of ladlefuls of the starchy pasta water into the sauce to loosen it slightly.
Combine the sauce with the pasta and serve.


Love Lili
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* If you really hate anchovies, stop it, you can’t taste them in the sauce! If you really, really hate anchovies, you can substitute in tinned tuna.