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Pasta Puttanesca

By Sophie Dahl

Whore’s pasta – was ever a name so good? It’s perfect for it: edgy, spicy and just the right side of wrong, conjuring up Neapolitan streets and potent women in tight dresses.

Photography by Jan Baldwin
  • Serves: 2


  • 200g/2 cups of spelt penne
  • Olive oil

For the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1⁄2 a fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 400g/13oz can of chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1⁄2 a teaspoon of soft brown sugar (optional)
  • 150g/1⁄2 a cup of black olives, pitted
  • 2 large tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley


  1. First, make the musky, heady sauce. In a pan, heat 2 table- spoons of the olive oil and sweat the garlic and the chilli. You really don’t want the garlic to burn, otherwise it will become bitter. Add the tomatoes and simmer on low. In a pestle and mortar, grind the anchovies with the remaining olive oil into a paste. Add to the sauce and carry on simmering for about 20 minutes. You could add half a teaspoon of brown sugar here; taste and decide.
  2. Cook the pasta as directed on the box, until it is al dente. Add the olives to the sauce and serve with a big handful of parsley, and pretend you’re in a steamy restaurant in a winding alleyway in Naples.