Spaghetti alla pugliese

Spaghetti with tomatoes, anchovies and olives

Photo: ckbk instagram

This is one of many sauces that contain typical southern Italian ingredients – tomatoes, olives and anchovies – and I am sure it is one of the very best. It is the sauce I had in Puglia during one of my many trips to that blessed land of delicious food. Get an olive oil from Puglia, which has a particular and delicious almondy flavour.

This dish is also good cold, in which case you can add a little more olio santo – cold food needs stronger flavouring.


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped, or 3 salted anchovies, cleaned, rinsed and chopped
  • 500 g/1 lb 2 oz fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded, or canned plum tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • salt
  • 350 g/12 oz spaghetti
  • 12 green olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 or 3 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 3 tbsp olio santo


Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the anchovies and cook for a couple of minutes, mashing them with a fork against the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Taste and add salt.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente. When the pasta is ready, drain and transfer it to the frying pan. Stir-fry for 2–3 minutes, using two forks to separate the strands, and then add the olives, capers, parsley, basil and the olio santo. Mix well and serve at once.