Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, Prostitute’s Spaghetti with a Twist

It is one of those weeks where you don’t feel like cooking but you have to eat.
It is one of those times when everyone is out of the house and no fresh ingredients are available.
You don’t feel like buying any fresh ingredients only to rot in the fridge before anyone uses them.
We’re all out and away all day. What to eat?

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What to eat? The eternal question of my life’s journey! A journey filled with ups and down, and existential shit like this post. What’s life? What’s food? Do you eat to live or live to eat?
I decided to go against what my mom used to tell me and go by the Live To Eat motto.

What’s food? Are you really what you eat? Are you a couch potato if you only eat potatoes on a couch? Are you a vegetable if you’re vegan? Are you a prostitute if you eat Spaghetti alla puttanesca (which can translate to a whore’s spaghetti) so many times? Maybe. What do you say?

This recipe is quick and takes merely nothing more than taking jars and cans out of the fridge and cabinet. The Italian name is a reference to prostitutes in mid 20th century who didn’t have time to shop for fresh ingredients so they would use whatever is in the cabinets. Another story tells that this dish was created in the 1950’s out of necessity and the hunger of costumers who walked into a restaurant and asked the chef to cook them anything knowing that he had a shortage in ingredients. So he cooked them a spaghetti dish with four tomatoes, two olives and some capers and it was added to the menu since then. Ever since I discovered it, shared by Nigella Lawson, I added it to my favorites menu, using whatever ingredients I found lying around my kitchen and the leaves of my basil plant.

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Go ahead and try it.

You won’t turn into a prostitute, I can assure you. 

Only an appropriate photo to go with the recipe

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Spaghetti alla Puttanesca with a Twist

Serves 3-4 person


  • 1 box (500g) angel hair spaghetti 
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (or 3 tbsp thick tomato paste)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 slices anchovies (necessary, but can be skipped)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 15-20 chorizo slices (or add as much as you want)
  • 10-15 pitted green olives
  • 3 tbsp oil-preserved thyme, with its oil
  • Parmesan or Pecorino for shaving


  • Begin by boiling water for the pasta and salting it well. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta and give it a stir to prevent it from sticking. Boil according to one minute less than the time mentioned on the packet to leave it al dente
  • While the water is boiling, heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and throw in the garlic cloves, chili flakes, and anchovies until fragrant and and the garlic start to turn golden and the ancoivies melt. Throw in the chorizo and toss a couple of times. Open the can of chopped tomatoes and carefully add to the pan and stir. If you’re using the paste, taste a cup of the pasta water and stir the paste into it then add to the pan. Add more water if needed. Bring to a boil and simmer till the pasta is done
  • Drain the pasta reserving some of the boiling water. Add the pasta to the pan and toss well to coat. Add the capers, olives, and thyme with the oil and toss. Serve immediately and top with some more olive oil and some shavings of cheese

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