Angela Hartnett’s puttanesca recipe

The beauty of this sauce is that you can adapt it to make it work for you – splash in some red wine for added finesse, or make it spicier with added peperoncino, richer with more black olives, or more acid with added capers (more is always more in this case).

Jonathan Lovekin


Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 x 400g cans of good-quality chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp good-quality anchovies, drained
2 tsp drained capers
2 tbsp pitted and roughly chopped black olives
1 tsp caster sugar
A good pinch of crumbled dried peperoncino
A good grinding of black pepper
350g dried penne or spaghetti
Good-quality finely grated Parmesan, to serve

  1. Pour a little olive oil into a large pan over a low heat. When hot, add the garlic and fry for about 1 minute, until soft and translucent, but not coloured and definitely not burnt (which would ruin the flavour of the sauce).
  2. Add the tomatoes, then the anchovies, capers, olives, sugar, peperoncino and pepper. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and leave it to simmer away for at least 45 minutes without a lid over a really gentle heat, until it has reduced to a lovely, thick consistency that will stick to the pasta.
  3. Towards the end of the sauce cooking time, bring a pan of well-salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to the packet instructions. Drain and transfer the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat. Scoop the pasta and sauce into warmed bowls and serve it with best-quality Parmesan for sprinkling over.

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the weekend cook
Our recipes are taken from The Weekend Cook by Angela Hartnett, to be published by Bloomsbury on 26 May, price £26. To order a copy for £22.10 with free UK delivery until 29 May, go to or call 020 3176 2937.