The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

Spaghetti alla hussy


– an impudent or immoral girl or woman

Also known as spaghetti alla puttanesca (or as I sometimes call it, put-it-in-Vanessa), when translated into English means ‘whore’s spaghetti’. Apparently, this quick and easy dish was invented by the Napolese ladies of easy virtue so they could ‘eat and run’.  As they say, “time is money!”.  Indeed, this dish is incredibly quick and easy, and is one of my favourites to make when I’m low on time and/or motivation to cook dinner. You could easily make and serve this dish for four people in 20 minutes.

Spaghetti alla hussy
2½ tbs olive oil
8 anchovies drained and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or thinly sliced
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
500g spaghetti
400g can chopped tomatoes
100-150g pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 tbs small capers, rinsed and drained
Chopped parsley and parmesan to serve (optional)

As the sauce is quite quick to cook, I would start heating up the water for cooking the pasta first so that by the time it’s boiling you can start cooking the sauce.  Once the pasta is boiling add a little salt to the water and cook the spaghetti according to the packet’s instructions.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

Chuck the chopped anchovies into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to squish the anchovies so they break up a little, add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.

Add the canned tomatoes, olives and capers and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine.  Divide equally between four pasta bowls, and serve with a bit of parsley and parmesan.

Note: I have based this recipe on Nigella Lawson’s ‘Slut’s spaghetti’ recipe, which can either be accessed by clicking here or in her cookbook Kitchen.


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