Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Olives, and Capers

This assertive, full-flavored sauce is best made with summer-ripe tomatoes. But it can also be made in the dead of winter with good-quality canned tomatoes.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 15 minutesTotal: 30 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 4


  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 10 Italian or Greek oil-cured olives
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • 4 oz. canned anchovies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. spaghetti, or other long pasta
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 tsps. fresh basil
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 sprigs Italian flat parsley, to garnish


  • Wash the tomatoes and chop (do not peel or remove the seeds). Remove the pits from the olives and cut in half. Rinse the capers. Drain the oil from the anchovies and separate. Smash, peel, and mince the garlic.
  • Fill a large saucepan with just enough salted water to cover the pasta. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until al dente (10 to 15 minutes). Drain the pasta thoroughly.
  • Melt the unsalted butter in a frying pan. Add the garlic. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, then add the anchovies. Continue cooking over low heat, gently mashing the anchovies and mixing with the garlic. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, basil, and the red pepper flakes. Turn the heat up to medium-low, and cook until the tomatoes have softened. If the sauce is too dry, add 1 tablespoon water or tomato paste.
  • To serve, combine the sauce with the cooked pasta. Garnish with the parsley.