Paul Merrony’s puttanesca sauce

  • serves 4
  • A little effort

Chef Paul Merrony shares his masterclass in creating the perfect punchy puttanesca - a balanced pasta sauce of tomatoes, capers, olives, chilli and anchovy. An easy weeknight supper.



  • onion 1 small, peeled and finely diced
  • garlic 2 cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • dried red chillies 1, roughly crushed
  • good quality olive oil
  • anchovy fillets a small tin, about 50g
  • kalamata olives 50g, brought to the boil and then drained)
  • large capers 50g, I prefer the plump raisin-sized ones in brine
  • good quality chopped tomatoes 400g tin
  • parmesan grated to serve


  • Step 1

    Very gently melt the onions, garlic and chillies in a generous slug of the good oil, until they are translucent and just beginning to blonde.

  • Step 2

    Add the anchovy fillets, including the oil they lived in, the olives and capers. Over a slightly higher heat, continue to cook until the pans contents are gently frazzled – lively and animated.

  • Step 3

    Add the tin of tomatoes and a small cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer (stirring occasionally) for about 10 minutes, until the anchovies have melted away and all the other ingredients have intermingled. Season.

  • Step 4

    To serve, either spoon over some freshly cooked pasta or, better still, toss with the pasta, so that the sauce gets to loiter within the pasta. Liberally drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with lots of finely grated parmesan cheese.

  • Step 5

    The sauce will keep for a week or so in the fridge but, given the simplicity of preparation, the ingredients will keep much longer, unprepared, in the pantry.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 228
  • Fat 21.1g
  • Carbs 6g
  • Fibre 1.9g
  • Protein 4g
  • Salt 2.33g