There is nothing more delicious than a plate of spaghetti alla puttanesca, if the pasta is really al dente and the anchovies capers and black olives are really good quality. This for me is a store cupboard pasta dish. When you have nothing in the fridge but do have a lovely jar of taggiasche black olives some good quality capers and anchovies mixed together with tomato passata. Nothing could taste so good and be so simple.
It's important that you melt the garlic anchovies and olives so they release their natural oil. This will be the seasoning for the sauce and will add so much flavour to the tomato passata. If you like a little heat, a touch of dried chilli when you add the garlic will always taste good. I find the addition of a few ripe datterini or cherry tomatoes cut in quarters make it even more delicious.
For four starters or two main course dishes
350g good quality Spaghetti
6 anchovy fillets in olive oil
1 clove of garlic finely sliced
10 pitted Taggiasche olives
1 tbsp of small best quality capers
500ml of tomato Passata
10 Datterini tomatoes cut into quarters
Pinch of dried oregano
1 tbsp of chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tbsp of olive oil
Pinch of dried chilli
In a heavy based frying pan add the olive oil and place on the stove on a low heat. Add the garlic, olives, capers,anchovies, pinch of dried chilli and the cut up datterini tomatoes. Cook very gently for five minutes.
Add the tomato passata and pinch of oregano. Cook until the tomato has reduced by half. Leave to one side off the heat and cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water.
Cook the spaghetti two minutes less than the packet suggests and remove the pasta with a pair of tongs and add directly to the frying pan with the sauce. Add a ladle of the pasta water and toss and cook for a further two minutes so the spaghetti absorbs the the sauce. Don't be afraid to add more pasta water if it looks a little dry. Check the seasoning and add the chopped parsley.
Serve in hot bowls with a drizzle of good oil on top and some freshly ground black pepper. Do not serve parmesan with this as it will overpower the sauce and a general rule is that you never serve cheese with fish.
A glass of Primitivo di Puglia will go really well as it is a simple wine with great fruit. If you prefer white wine serve a well chilled falanghina. Have a great week!