Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Veggie puttanesca

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
This budget vegetarian take on classic Italian puttanesca sauce is a store-cupboard saviour. If you're making this recipe to serve two, cook half the pasta and freeze half the cooked sauce. Each serving provides 504kcal, 12g protein, 65g carbohydrate (of which 12g sugars), 17g fat (of which 2.5g saturates), 7g fibre and 1.4g salt.


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and fry gently for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened and very lightly browned.

  2. Stir in the olives, capers, chilli flakes and salt, then add the tinned tomatoes and red wine (or stock). Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Simmer very gently for 40-45 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened.

  3. Once the sauce has been cooking for 30 minutes, half-fill a large saucepan with boiling water. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the packet instructions, until al dente.

  4. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, reserve 3 tablespoons of the cooking water in a bowl, then drain the pasta in a colander and return it to the saucepan.

  5. Add half of the sauce to the cooked spaghetti, then stir in the reserved cooking water. Continue to stir the mixture carefully until the spaghetti is coated in the sauce. Season, to taste, with freshly ground black pepper.

  6. To serve, transfer the spaghetti and sauce to a warmed serving dish, then pour over the remaining sauce. Drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of oil and garnish with the parsley, if using. Serve immediately.


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g/7oz frozen chopped onions (or 2 medium onions, roughly chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 125g/4½oz drained, pitted black olives, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp capers (from a jar), drained
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml/5fl oz red wine or vegetable stock
  • 300g/10½oz dried spaghetti
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • handful fresh flatleaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

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Veggie puttanesca

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