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Spaghetti Puttanesca

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)


This popular, spicy Italian pasta dish is easy to throw together using pantry staples. If you have time, use better-quality ingredients such as whole canned tomatoes and olives that you have to pit yourself. But the diced tomatoes and pitted olives called for here will serve just as well.


  1. 1½ lb. dried spaghetti
  2. 2 oz. oil-packed anchovies, oil drained and reserved, anchovies minced
  3. 2 tsp. red-pepper flakes, or to taste
  4. 2 tsp. dried oregano
  5. 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  6. 2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  7. ¼ cup dry red wine
  8. 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  9. 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  10. 3 to 4 Tbsp. capers
  11. 2 doz. pitted Kalamata olives, minced
  12. 1 tsp. sugar (optional)
  13. 1 large handful fresh Italian parsley leaves, minced
  14. Freshly grated Parmesan
  15. Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Make the pasta: Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full with cold water; add a generous teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the spaghetti, stirring to prevent the pasta from clumping together. Cook till al dente, then drain and quickly toss with the sauce.
  2. Make the sauce: While the water is coming to a boil, put the oil from the anchovies in a large, heavy skillet. Add the red-pepper flakes, oregano, and onion. Sauté over medium heat until the onions start to turn translucent, then add the garlic. Stir for a minute or so, then add the wine. Stir and cook for another minute or so, then add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, anchovies, capers, olives, and sugar, if using. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the sauce until the pasta is done.
  3. Assemble the dish: Serve the pasta garnished with the parsley, cheese, salt, and pepper. (Be careful with the salt, as the dish is already salty from the anchovies, capers, olives, and cheese.) Pour the remaining red wine for your guests to drink.