This Italian classic is traditionally served with spaghetti (Spaghetti alla Puttanesca - Whores Style Spaghetti - cheeky!) however I decided that penne would be a great alternative as the deliciously chunky sauce gets in amongst the cylinder shaped pasta.
The flavours are so beautifully balanced by the saltiness from the anchovies and capers, the bitter richness from the olives, acidic tomatoes and the oh so sweet sugar.
Now I have to say it, if you screw your nose up at anchovies and you have never tried them, well more fool you. They are absolutely beautiful and this dish will win over any anchovy haters. They literally melt away with the sauce. I beg you to try this!
This will comfortably serve 5.
4 tbsp olive oil
45 g butter
3 medium onions, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Sicilian chilli flakes
3 tbsp capers
3 tbsp black olives (I use Kalamata, however whatever is hiding in your fridge will work also)
2 400g tins tomatoes, pureed
1 heaped tbsp sugar
500 g penne pasta
Fresh basil leaves
Over a medium-low heat cook onions in oil and butter until translucent and soft, roughly 30 mins. Stir in garlic. Place anchovies over the top of onions and garlic and let soften. After a few minutes you will be able to stir them through and they will break up into the mix. Stir through chilli, capers and black olives. Once combined pour in tomato puree and sprinkle sugar over. Stir to combine. Allow sauce to cook and reduce for 20-30 mins.
In a large pot, boil salted water. Add penne and cook according to instructions, roughly 12-14 minutes or al dente ('to the tooth' - means cooked and firm to the bite and not soft).
Drain and place back in the pot. Pour over sauce and toss to coat evenly. Pour into a heated serving bowl, sprinkle with parmesan and basil leaves. Serve. Enjoy!