“Whore’s Pasta” Tagliatelle alla puttanesca

by Lesley on June 24, 2010

There are lots of theories how this “whore’s pasta” (Italian translation) came about, so simple and so delicious, and as long as it tastes good it’ll be on the table!

I’m not a lover of food that’s too hot and spicy to enjoy, and this calls for a whole chilli, but this turned out just fine, in fact we had seconds!

Next time I may even add a few chilli seeds!

Here's the recipe:

Serves 2
Prep Time 15 mins
Cooking Time 15 mins

  • 350g Tagliatelle pasta
  • 1 Red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Medium red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 Tin (400g) Tomatoes, chopped
  • Small tin Anchovy fillets, about 50g
  • A few good quality black olives, pitted and sliced in half lengthways
  • Handful of basil, roughly chopped
  • Small handful of parsley, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Tomato puree
  • Parmesan shavings to serve
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil ready for the pasta
  • Meanwhile heat a tablespoonful of olive oil in a wok
  • Add the onion, garlic and chilli, cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent
  • Add the capers and anchovy fillets, breaking down the fish as you stir
  • Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and a squirt of tomato puree
  • Add the basil, parsley and black pepper, stir

  • Add olives and sun dried tomatoes
  • Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • While the sauce is finishing off, add the pasta to the saucepan of boiling water (see Cook’s Tips 1.)
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss into the sauce
  • Season and serve with parmesan shavings

Cook's tips

  • 1. Fresh pasta usually takes about 5 minutes, check instructions on the packet if you’re using dried


  • Large saucepan
  • Large wok

Shopping List

  • 350g Tagliatelle pasta
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Medium red chilli
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 Tin (400g) Tomatoes
  • Small tin Anchovy fillets
  • Black olives
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Tomato puree
  • Parmesan shavings to serve
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate June 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm

This sounds like my kind of recipe!

Michela June 28, 2010 at 10:19 am

Oh Les..a lady shouldn’t use certain swearwords!Ha ha! It looks super yummy! xxx

Sophie June 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm

A lovely spiced up pasta dish!


Juliana June 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Oh! This pasta look so tasty…anchovies…yummie yummie!

Diane June 29, 2010 at 4:56 am

I love this – I made Delias version a while back, so I will have to have a go at yours. xxxx

sophia June 30, 2010 at 5:40 am

How can you not love a dish that’s named “whore’s pasta”?! Man, look at all the lovely stuff in the nests of those carbs! YUM!

Kim August 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Whore or not, ( hahah) This looks incredible!! Thanks for another beautiful recipe!

Lesley August 17, 2010 at 10:13 am

Always a pleasure Kim x

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