Spaghetti alla Putanesca is a typical dish from Naples. The sauce is prepared with a tomato base, olive oil, garlic, olives and capers. There is another version from Rome where anchovies are added. If you don't like anchovies just leave them out.
—Maria Teresa Jorge
ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 1/2 ounces
black olives without stone
anchovy fillets, flattened and cleaned
capers, drained and chopped
red onion chopped finely
garlic cloves witout the inside green part and crushed
Open the anchovy fillets and remove bone and wash under running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper towel.
Drain the capers and chop them. Set aside. If using capers in salt, put them in a bowl of fresh water and let unsalt for 15 minutes. Wash and dry them and chop.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. If you prefer to use big tomatoes, blanch them and cut in quarters and then in small pieces. Put in a colander and set aside.
In a large skillet, over moderate heat, add the olive oil, the onion and the chili flakes and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat, let cool slightly and add the garlic and the anchovy fillets and stir well to dissolve the anchovies. Skip this step if you don't want to add anchovies.
Put the skillet back on the heat and add the tomato pieces. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
In a large pot, bring water with salt to a boil and cook the spaghetti al dente.
Add the black olives (without the stone) to the skillet, the chopped capers and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the drained spaghetti, mix carefully and if you need add a laddle of pasta cooking water. Check for salt (both the anchovies and the capers have quite a strong taste and you should only add salt at this point).