Spaghetti alla Putanesca

(Loose Ladies Sauce)

Created in Naples by ‘Loose Ladies’ as it was tasty, could be made from store cupboard ingredients and was quick to cook between clients!!  This recipe is in just about every Italian Cookbook but this is my own variation.


  • 3 Cloves of Garlic – sliced
  • 1 Green Chilli – sliced very finely
  • 1 tin of Anchovy Fillets – drained and chopped finely
  • 2 Tablespoons of Capers – soaked in water for 10 minutes then drained and washed
  • 12 Black Olives – sliced
  • 2 Tins of Chopped Italian Tomatoes
  • 1 Teaspoon of dried Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon of Chopped fresh Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Spaghetti


Heat the oil in a lidded frying pan (or similar), add the chilli, garlic and the anchovies and fry, stirring constantly until the anchovies break up but don’t let the garlic burn.

Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes then add the capers, olives & oregano together with a serious grating of black pepper. Cook until it has reduced add the parsley a couple of minutes before it has finished cooking and serve over a long pasta (Spaghetti, Linguini, Tagliatelli etc.)

If after you have tried it the first time you find the flavours a little to strong for your palate then add another tin of tomatoes.

A particular TV Cook has recently created this recipe on screen using fresh ingredients. I have tried it and although not a bad pasta sauce it does not have the intensity of flavour of this recipe. The whole point to this recipe is that it is made with ingredients from the cupboard!!