Pasta puttanesca (lighter)

Pasta puttanesca

The Hairy Dieters’ books contain some cracking pasta recipes but Pasta Puttanesca from their third book is arguably their best. It’s a great store-cupboard staple dish to rustle up on a week night and costs under £1 per portion!

There are lots of variations of this recipe but this one is sooooo scrummy and comes in at only 250 calories. If you’re short on time, chuck in 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes if you don’t want to faff about deseeding and finely chopping a chilli.

The only difficulty with eating pasta puttanesca is having sufficient resolve not to demolish any spare portions if you get peckish, which ‘greedy guts’, aka yours truly, has been known to do on occasion. Well, perhaps on every occasion wahahaha ;-).

If you’ve got any anchovies left over and are wondering what to do with them, why not have a go at making Chicken Caesar Salad?

Recipe: Pasta puttanesca

Calories: 250 calories per portion

Serves: 4

Book: Hairy Dieters – Good Eating

Prep time: Approx 10 mins

Cooking time: Approx 20 mins


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped) OR 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes OR 4 large fresh tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 100g pitted black olives (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp capers (rinsed)
  • Pinch of caster sugar (optional)
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley or basil
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx *£0.92 *cost based on Tesco prices – December 2022

Method: To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the anchovy fillets. Break them up with a wooden spoon, then add the garlic and chilli and fry for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes. Season with pepper – not salt at this stage. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the olives and capers and continue to simmer for a little longer – you want the sauce to be well reduced. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. You might also want to add a pinch of caster sugar if the tomatoes are on the acidic side.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add salt. Drop in the spaghetti and cook until it is al dente. This should take 10-12 minutes, but check the packet instructions.

Drain the spaghetti and add it to the pan with the sauce. Mix thoroughly so the sauce coats all the spaghetti, then divide between bowls, making sure everyone gets plenty of sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil and serve with a big green salad on the side.


5 thoughts on “Pasta puttanesca (lighter)

  1. Pingback: Spaghetti on FIRE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s