Broken pasta

Preparation info

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Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

This old southern Italian recipe is the only pasta dish I know that is cooked with its sauce in the same pan. The pasta absorbs the tomato sauce as it cooks, giving it an extraordinary texture and taste.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400 g (14 oz) spaghettini, linguini or any very thin pasta
  • 500 g (1 lb) canned roma tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tbsp black olives, stoned and chopped
  • ½ fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 500 ml (18 fl oz) of water
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
  • Parmigiano for grating


Heat oil in a large shallow frying pan, and cook onion until soft. Break pasta in half lengthwise, and add to pan.

Add tomatoes, olives, chilli and capers and stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Cover the pan and simmer very gently for 3 minutes.

Remove cover, raise heat and add the wine, stirring well so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking, adding water as needed and stirring constantly for around 20 minutes or until pasta is al dente, tender but still firm to the bite. Add sea salt, pepper and parsley and stir well. Divide among warmed pasta plates and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano.