The April 2013 issue of Food and Wine features pasta recipes, and this puttanesca—made with sun-dried tomatoes and a fresh hot chile—is spectacular. Olives, capers, anchovies, chile and garlic are sautéed in olive oil, then combined with almonds, sun-dried tomatoes and crushed canned tomatoes. Cook the pasta until it is almost done and then add it to the sauce, with some reserved pasta water (the recipe suggests adding three cups of water—I added far less, as I didn’t want a runny sauce). Stir in fresh herbs, add a spritz of lemon zest and juice and you have a puttanesca that is every bit as good as the one made by your favourite trattoria.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I was very excited to finally find sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil that did not contain additives or preservatives. The brand is Allessia and I found them at the Bloor Street Market. Check the ingredients of your olives—I used President’s Choice green olives stuffed with garlic, which are all-natural. Unico capers, anchovies and crushed tomatoes don’t contain additives or preservatives. Make sure your almonds are preservative free and look for a white wine with a sulfite content of less than 10 parts per million. Finally, be sure to squeeze your own lemon juice—the concentrates are bitter and contain chemicals.

Saute the olives, chile, capers, garlic and anchovies

Add the sun-dried and crushed tomatoes

Add the slightly undercooked pasta and some pasta water

Fresh chile puttanesca


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 ounces green olives, such as Castelvetrano, pitted and chopped (½ cup)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon drained capers, chopped

One 2-ounce can anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped

1 Fresno chile or jalapeño, seeded and minced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½ cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

½ cup canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes

¼ cup sliced almonds

1 cup dry white wine

1 pound spaghetti

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

¼ cup torn basil leaves

½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


In a large pot, heat the ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the olives, capers, anchovies, chile and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling. Add the sun-dried and crushed tomatoes and the almonds and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until pliable but still hard in the center, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 3 cups of water.

Add the spaghetti and the reserved cooking water to the sauce and cook until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the parsley, basil, lemon zest and lemon juice and serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 6.

From the April 2013 issue of Food and Wine