I'll wager it won't take you much longer to stir this up than it would to say "Spaghetti Pomodoro Speziato". It sounds and looks quite a mouthful but all it really means is "spicy tomato spaghetti". The recipe was given to me by a half drunk Italian cook years and years ago, who swore to me, on his grandmother's grave, that it was his dead grandmother's personal creation, unaltered.

How much store can you put by the word of a partially inebriated cook/actor/model/tennis coach/I can't remember what else, with all of the warmth, drama and colour of the Mediterranean, coursing through his veins? Personally, I seriously doubt his grandmother would have ever allowed a can of tomatoes into her kitchen.

This though, is still a fantastically fast and fabulous pasta treat and one I rely on when hunger catches me with little time and not much more ingredients in either the cupboard or fridge. Taste before adding salt as the bacon and anchovies are loaded with sodium.
Preparation 10 minutes      Cook 15 minutes      Serves 4


350 g dried spaghetti
4 rashers pancetta or streaky bacon, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
6-8 drained anchovy fillets
1 generous handful pitted black olives
2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 cans (410 g each) diced tomatoes in juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Put a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. When water boils, add spaghetti and cook according to package instructions or to personal preference. While spaghetti cooks, prepare sauce.

Heat about 3 Tbsp olive oil in a deep pan and when hot, add the bacon. Stir over medium heat until golden then add the garlic. Lower heat and continue to cook for a few minutes, ensuring garlic doesn't burn. Add the anchovy fillets and crush into the oil.

When anchovies have dissolved, add the olives and red pepper flakes. Stir for a minute then add the tomatoes, including juice. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Drain spaghetti and add to the sauce in the pan. Stir until thoroughly coated with sauce and taste. Add salt and pepper and stir again. Serve immediately.

Drink suggestion : A Rioja, Sangiovese, simple Chianti, or Red Zinfandel.