youtube pinterest twitter facebook instagram vimeo Bookmark Entries BURGER NEW Chevron Down Chevron Left Chevron Right Basket Speech Comment Search Video Play Icon Premium Nigella Lawson Vegan Vegetarian Member Speech Recipe Bookmark Comment Camera Scales Quantity List Reorder Remove Open book
Menu Signed In
More Nigella recipes

Slut's Spaghetti

by . Featured in KITCHEN, and Nigella Quick Collection
Print me

Introduction

Well, how could I resist this translation of pasta alla puttanesca, whore's pasta as it usually is described in English? The general consensus seems to be that this is the sort of dish cooked by slatterns who don't go to market to get their ingredients fresh, but are happy to use stuff out of jars and tins. I hold my hands up to that. Or maybe one should just attribute the name gamely to the fiery tang and robust saltiness of the dish?

Please fire up the sauce if you want, but do know that even though the first mouthful might seem not quite hot enough, the heat builds as you eat.

Well, how could I resist this translation of pasta alla puttanesca, whore's pasta as it usually is described in English? The general consensus seems to be that this is the sort of dish cooked by slatterns who don't go to market to get their ingredients fresh, but are happy to use stuff out of jars and tins. I hold my hands up to that. Or maybe one should just attribute the name gamely to the fiery tang and robust saltiness of the dish?

Please fire up the sauce if you want, but do know that even though the first mouthful might seem not quite hot enough, the heat builds as you eat.

Slut's Spaghetti
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 4-6

Metric Cups
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 anchovies (drained and finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely sliced, crushed or grated)
  • ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (or 2 tablespoons pickled red jalapeno chilli peppers, drained, sliced and diced)
  • 500 grams spaghetti
  • 1 x 400 grams can chopped tomatoes
  • 150 grams (drained weight) pitted black olives (chopped a bit)
  • 2 tablespoons small capers (rinsed and drained)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (to serve - optional)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 anchovies (drained and finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely sliced, crushed or grated)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or 2 tablespoons pickled red jalapeno chilli peppers, drained, sliced and diced)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 14 ounces can diced tomatoes
  • 1¼ cups (drained weight) pitted black olives (chopped a bit)
  • 2 tablespoons small capers (rinsed and drained)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (to serve - optional)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

Method

  1. Put water for pasta on to boil, though you don’t need to get started on the sauce until itis pretty well boiling.
  2. Pour the oil into a wide, shallowish frying pan, casserole or wok, and put on a medium heat.
  3. Add the finely chopped anchovies and cook for about 3 minutes, pressing and pushing with a wooden spoon, until the anchovies have almost “melted”, then add the garlic and chilli flakes (or sliced then diced jalapeños) and cook, stirring for another minute.
  4. This is probably the stage at which you will want to be salting the boiling pasta water and adding the spaghetti to cook according to packet instructions.
  5. Going back to the sauce, add the tomatoes, olives and capers and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and again, by which time it will have thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Just before the pasta is ready, remove about an espresso cupful of cooking water, and reserve it. When the pasta is cooked as desired, drain and add the spaghetti to the sauce in your wok or pan, adding a little reserved pasta water, if needed, to help amalgamate the sauce. Scatter with chopped parsley, if there's some to hand, and serve in slatternly style, preferably with an untipped cigarette clamped between crimson-painted lips.
  1. Put water for pasta on to boil, though you don’t need to get started on the sauce until itis pretty well boiling.
  2. Pour the oil into a wide, shallowish frying pan, casserole or wok, and put on a medium heat.
  3. Add the finely chopped anchovies and cook for about 3 minutes, pressing and pushing with a wooden spoon, until the anchovies have almost “melted”, then add the garlic and chilli flakes (or sliced then diced jalapeños) and cook, stirring for another minute.
  4. This is probably the stage at which you will want to be salting the boiling pasta water and adding the spaghetti to cook according to packet instructions.
  5. Going back to the sauce, add the tomatoes, olives and capers and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and again, by which time it will have thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Just before the pasta is ready, remove about an espresso cupful of cooking water, and reserve it. When the pasta is cooked as desired, drain and add the spaghetti to the sauce in your wok or pan, adding a little reserved pasta water, if needed, to help amalgamate the sauce. Scatter with chopped parsley, if there's some to hand, and serve in slatternly style, preferably with an untipped cigarette clamped between crimson-painted lips.

Tell us what you think

What 13 Others have said

  • It was delicious! I made a Slut's Spaghetti with my own personal salacious touch incorporating lime juice, sun dried tomatoes, roasted pine nuts, parmesan and arugola... which worked out percectly! ;-) I also added alot of dried chilli peppers as I like it hot!

    Posted by Charleston on 23rd July 2016
  • I am going to try and thank you

    Posted by Parmjit on 7th April 2016
  • I had a vegan friend over for dinner, and I made this omitting the non-vegan anchovies -- and it was terrific -- highly recommended!

    Posted by jclaireb on 9th November 2015
  • I do not like anchovies or black olives, but I like spicy things and I love Nigella so I thought I would try, so glad we did!! So easy to make yet such a robust, complex flavor, perfect. I adjusted recipe to roughly one cup black olives, 2 1/2 T of olive oil and 36 oz of diced tomatoes and extra 1/2T of japanese hot pepper spice, togarashii, along with 1/2 t of red pepper flakes. I am fantasizing about lunch already. Thanks Nigella for sharing and making be brave to try something out of my comfort zone!

    Posted by scarlettjean on 13th February 2014
  • This was downright sinfully earthy, robust, and briny. I used pitted assorted olives, not the kalamata olives as Nigella suggested one night, and then the pitted kalamata olives on another night. Family whole-heartedly agrees the pitted assorted olives gives more depth of flavor. Also added sundried tomatoes in olive oil and used the oil from the tin of anchovies for more flavor. I decided to grate the zest of a large lemon and add its juice to the sauce which balanced out the briny-ness and added some brightness to the dish. The small changes enhanced al already magnificent dish. This too will get a regular rotation at our home.

    Posted by Lipsticklibrarian on 3rd May 2013
  • Surprisingly delicious. Would definitely make again.

    Posted by ciaranic on 30th April 2013
  • Delicious flavour, but I had a 375g of spaghetti and didn't have quite enough sauce. Will definitely add extra chopped tomatoes next time. This one has definitely made the rotation!

    Posted by f4tty on 2nd April 2013
  • Great - very authentic! Even just half a teaspoon of chilli flakes still packs a punch. Not sure what my wife made of my crimson-painted lips though ...

    Posted by brethawthorne on 28th February 2013
  • Lovely and so simple

    Posted by Andrea032 on 6th November 2012
  • I have lost count of how many times I have made this recipe now - it's a real corker!! I use it as a base in things too.... such as shellfish stew. Try substituting the olives for fresh mussels - God it's good!

    Posted by spainbuddy on 29th October 2012
  • Heaven!!!

    Posted by Etvoilà on 1st October 2012
  • I prepared it for dinner tonight and it's so easy and just simply yummy !!! I think chilies are a must in this recipe, it would just lift up all the flavours. As an Asian, I always have fresh red chillies in my fridge instead of dried. The only troublesome thing is that I've got to cook something else for my children, both under 5 yrs.

    Posted by cookwithemily on 17th September 2012
Show more comments