One Pot Wonder: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca


It is day 25 of renovations and I am slowly losing the will to live.

For 21 of those days we have had a toilet that doesn’t work. 21 days and 4 plumbers later we finally have a working toilet and it feels like all of my Christmases have come at once. Small victories!

As I’m sure many of you know, and have probably experienced much worse, renovations have invaded EVERY aspect of life (yes, that is a dropcloth in my picture). Most evenings, I have to reorganize the entire kitchen like one of those annoyed puzzles just to access the stove-top.

Simple, one pot meals are my life saver at the moment.

I have been seeing variations of this meal around the internet and decided to give it a try. What I really love about it is how sticky and thick the sauce becomes when you cook the pasta in it.

I also really love the history of this dish. Pasta alla Puttanesca literally translates to “spaghetti of the whore”. Although its history is a bit disputed, there seems to be three main versions of how it got its delightful name.

1)   It was an easy dish for prostitutes to cook while “meeting with a client” and then quick and nutritious for her to eat in between clients as well.

2)   A restaurateur was faced with a problem when he had run out of ingedients to make a dish and a table of ladies was demanding to be fed. He just threw a bunch of random bits and bobs in a pot and served it to them.

3)  That when it was being cooked in the local brothel, the strong, salty fragrance of this sauce would lure men in off of the street.

I like all of the stories equally. So, whatever your reason for making this sauce- to save your sanity or to get your energy up in between clients, you’ll be very glad you did.


5.0 from 1 reviews
One Pot Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
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Adapted from
Serves: 4
  • 12 oz. spaghetti noodles (I used plain spaghetti)
  • 3 oz. sliced good quality black olives
  • 1 cup (1/2 of a 15 oz can) cooked chickpeas
  • 2 TBSP capers
  • 1 tsp caper brine
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, sliced (I used oil packed)
  • I onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, low sodium or no salt added
  • 2 large handfuls of rocket (arugula)
  • 2 TBSP italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 4 cups good quality vegetable broth,
  • Shredded vegan parmesan cheese (I used Cheezly Dairy-Free Hard Italian Style)
  1. Add the uncooked pasta to a large, deep pan over medium high heat.
  2. Top with the remaining ingredients finishing by topping the whole lot with the vegetable broth.
  3. Cover the pan and bring to a boil.
  4. Keep covered and reduce to low heat.
  5. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. Should be finished in about 10 minutes.


Pease Porridge Hot: A Brief History


Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,

Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;

Or if you are from Newfoundland, Canada:

 Pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold,

Pease pudding in the pot, nine days old;

I grew up eating pease pudding at pretty much every holiday meal. In case you aren’t familiar with it, pease pudding is essentially dried split peas which are placed in a small muslin bag and boiled in the same water as the salt meat or vegetables to produce a very solid pudding made of – you guessed it- peas! It’s pretty standard fare for Newfoundland. I even have my own pease pudding bag (who needs Louis Vuitton?)!

Recently, I’ve been reading a very interesting book about the history of British food and learned that pease pudding actually grew out of pease pottage (later renamed porridge).

Since the Middle Ages, a large kettle would be placed over the fire and a thick soup of dried split peas, some sort of grain (if you were lucky) and a few garden vegetables would simmer throughout the week. Day to day different scraps would be added to it, which resulted in a constantly changing dish. Along with several pounds of bread and some ale, this would be the main source of sustenance for the majority of the population. This continued well in to the seventeeth century amongst the poor. The wealthier people also ate pease pottage, although usually only during church mandated meat-free fasting days and for Lent.

So, while I grew up delighting in the nursery rhyme, I’m sure if you were a peasant child in sixteenth century England you may have been less excited. “Pease pottage, AGAIN?!”

Although most homes don’t rely on pease pottage these days, the humble split pea has made its mark on England (and Eastern Canada!).

I’m sure that life was grim, short and grinding in those days. But, I can’t help it, I still find something romantic about a big wood fire with a large kettle of pea soup bubbling away.

Chunky Split Pea Soup
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Soul warming chunky split pea soup.
Recipe type: Bowl Food
Serves: 6
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 2 TBSP good curry powder
  • 2 carrots, chunkily chopped
  • 12 oz dried split green or yellow peas (I always soak overnight)
  • 5 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and curry powder.
  4. Continue to cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes being careful not to burn.
  5. Add the peas and stock.
  6. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low and add carrots.
  8. Cover and cook at a simmer until the peas are tender (30-45 minutes).
  9. Add salt and pepper as needed.
  10. If you prefer a smooth pea soup, you can puree it at this time.
  11. To get the full experience, serve this peasant style- with hearty bread and ale.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup (8 fl oz) Calories: 255 kcal Carbohydrates: 42 g Sugar: 7 g Fiber: 15 Protein: 16 g Cholesterol: 0 g

 Ben’s Verdict (aka MeatEater’s response): 

I think there must be something of the peasant in me because I could seriously eat this soup every day.  It had a great savoury taste, deep and satisfying, leaving a rich warm sensation in my stomach.  Many pea soups are blended to a dull consistency but this had great texture – the peas were soft but still solid and the chunks of carrot provided a lovely sweetness to sink your teeth into. And, in true peasant style we ate it with three bottles of beer and a loaf of bread.  Not so much a case of “pease pottage AGAIN?!”, but “pease pottage again please!”

Ben’s Score: 4/5