Alla puttanesca is one of the best ways to enjoy an Italian fare - with capers, anchovies, olives and rich tomatoes, it's a Mediterranean delight.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (34 votes)


  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried Greek oregano
  • 30 g can anchovies
  • 1 tbsp baby capers, drained or rinsed
  • 90 g (½ cup) black olives, pitted
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • 500 g best-quality spaghetti
  • chopped parsley, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, then add a good handful of salt.
  2. When the water has nearly come to the boil, place the oil, garlic, chilli, oregano, anchovies, capers and olives in a large heavy–based frying pan over low heat. Stir for 2-3 minutes or until the anchovies are ‘melted’.
  3. Add the tomatoes, crushing them with a wooden spoon. Increase the heat to high and simmer vigorously for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low.
  4. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than the packet instructions. Using tongs, remove the spaghetti from the water straight into the sauce and toss vigorously to release the starch, adding a little more water if necessary to loosen.
  5. Check the seasoning, then serve scattered with parsley.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.