I can hear your little brains going ‘Eeeeh?’ at the mere thought of what would classify linguine as a trollop. The secret behind is not really a secret and it’s the well-known and very Italian pasta alla puttanesca which, translated literally, means ‘pasta the whoreish way’. I really wanted to call this dish ‘Whore’s linguine’, but I decided to opt for a more stylish and old-fashioned approach instead. After all, even if the true etymology of the Italian name is still an enigma, there a few things which we are sure about: the recipe comes from Naples (although the adaptation below is reminiscent of the way they prepare it in the Lazio region) and it involves some basic ingredients, such as tomatoes, olives and capers. That is more than enough for me.
Some TV chefs claim this dish can be made entirely out of storecupboard ingredients. I agree to disagree, for once. Find me the typical British household where capers and anchovies are always in the cupboard and I swear I will be impressed.
- 250g linguine
- 15g drained and rinsed capers
- 1 x 400g cherry/San Marzano tomatoes tin
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 or 5 anchovies, drained and finely chopped
- dried chillies
- olive oil
- 100g stoned, drained black olives, sliced
- First, make the sauce. Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and tip the finely chopped red onion in. Cook over a medium heat until softened, stirring frequently.
- Once that is done, add the tomatoes, closely followed by the capers and olives. Leave to simmer gently for about 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened nicely.
- Add the finely chopped anchovies, and stir them in the sauce to make them melt. Adding anchovies will give the sauce a much ‘meatier’ texture and boost the flavours. Season with salt and pepper and remove the sauce from the heat.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions in plenty of salted boiling water.
- Once al dente, drain it and tip it together with the sauce, then scatter with some chopped parsley and serve.