Try this traditional Italian recipe – Spaghetti Puttanesca. It’s delicious.
125 g (4½ oz) spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red bird’s-eye chilli, finely chopped including the seeds for heat
45 g (12⁄3 oz/¼ cup) Spanish stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers (if using large capers chop them, if using the tiny ones don’t)
1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
10 basil leaves, roughly torn
freshly ground black pepper
1–2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan with plenty of boiling salted water, following the packet instructions, until al dente.
2 Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat, then add the anchovies. They will spit a bit and smell quite strong when they cook, but fear not, the flavour they add to the dish is not fishy!
3 Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the anchovy into the oil and cook for 2–3 minutes. If they spit too much, turn the heat down a little.
4 Next, add the garlic and the chilli, and cook for another couple of minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
5 Add the olives and capers, and cook for a couple of minutes to heat through, then add the tomato and half the basil and a turn or two from the pepper grinder.
6 Reduce the heat to medium and cook gently until the pasta is ready. You really don’t need to cook the sauce much—it is more about heating the ingredients so all the flavours combine and allowing the tomatoes to wilt a little.
7 Once the pasta is cooked, add the rest of the basil to the puttanesca, then use tongs to pick the pasta from the water and transfer into the frying pan with the sauce. It is good to get a little bit of the pasta water into the sauce, which is why I use the tongs.
8 Give it all a good stir and, if you think it is a little dry, just add a little more of the cooking water and stir again.
9 Serve in a bowl and top with parmesan.
Recipes and images from Kitchen Mojo by Paul Mercurio, published by Murdoch Books