Adult spaghetti !

Easy, quick and soooo tasty.


…using jars and tins of what you probably already have in the cupboard.

Last updated Feb 12, 2021 at 2:05PM | Published on Nov 2, 2019

Easy Tomato Salsa Dip

With a few tins or jars, onion / garlic, and some spaghetti, you can have this delicious dinner ready on the table.

If you mostly like to cook in the microwave too, then check this neat n cheap fast pasta maker too . You can see it at the end of the page.  

But why do we call it adult spaghetti ? ( or is it Spagetti as a lot of people write it – I think it has an ‘h’ but i’ll interchange to keep everyone happy. )

  First… the short, to the point, recipe !


Does it bother you when you have to scroll for miles and miles down a page to get to the actual recipe. Well, not this time !

We wanted to share a delicious supper we had… made by our daughter. There was something familiar about it … an old recipe we knew, but her’s tasted better ! She said she found it on the internet way back, so I asked her to give me a run-down of what she cooked.

Our daughter is like us it seems. We like it short and sweet.  So you don’t have to scroll all the way down the page for the recipe, method, ingredients etc ! The ingredients are in bold italic for you to see at a glance.

For quantities, just think how much you’d like to have on your plate – account for the fact that it will all boil down a lot, and make more than you think… you can always save leftovers for tomorrow !

Dice a few onions and lots of garlic and then fry.

Add a handful of capers, a handful of stoned and chopped olives  (black or green)

Add 2 or 3 chopped large fresh tomatoes.

Keep cooking it, add a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, chopped fresh basil, and a bit of red wine.

Let it simmer down to a nice sauce.

Cook the spaghetti and then drain and mix in .

Serve with more fresh basil if you want, and parmesan cheese.

That’s all she gave us, and I love it. Can you work with that ? If not, Paul just made his version for us last night, so I’ve detailed those further down the page with the usual, more detail on Ingredients and Method etc… read on. This is such an easy and malleable recipe that you really can’t go wrong – so just enjoy your own creation, it will be delicious !


Cooking Tips


In your store cupboard:

Jars of Capers, anchovies, olives ( black or green). Tin of tomatoes ( preferably whole), spagetti, parmesan. Some red wine for cooking… and entertaining the cook or the guests while you cook !

This is enough for the recipe, but you’ll notice that fresh Basil was added – so thats an option.


Preparation tips / mise en place:  

Nothing really needed but chopping in advance will mean you can do this recipe in record time ! So, if you have someone you want to give a job to… get them chopping those ingredients ( not the spagetti of course)!

TIP: You can chop as finely as you like – or not much at all but we would recommend chopping the anchovies till they are mush ! You can buy sliced tinned olives and tomatoes and just throw them in,. For the capers, you can just throw them in if you prefer. Not everyone likes capers or anchovies so the finer you chop and mush them the better it is for those people ! Don’t leave them out as the taste of the sauce is just divine once it’s all cooked down.


cooking suggestion: it can be done in 15mins, but the longer you leave the sauce to work its magic, the better ( max. 30mins).


serving suggestion:  serve with a nice glass of red wine, and maybe a slice of nice bread to mop of any leftover sauce at the end.

Inspiration... why we call it 'adult spagetti'



3 reasons really


1.  It can be cooked easily by a young adult or student

Our young adult daughter just started her post-graduation real-world working life and invited us to dinner. This is what she cooked for us !

She cooked as she hosted in a her big open plan apartment. We enjoyed the the red wine while we watched and chatted.


2. The ingredients are probably more appreciated by adults, than by children.

Not all children, but most might turn their nose at capers, olives, and anchovies ! Some adults might too… but they should know better ;)  You don’t taste the anchovies at all – when cooked they just add an unami meaty kind of flavour and give some weight to the dish.



3. It’s based on the old Spaghetti alla puttanesca recipe.

What our daughter hadn’t realised is that we recognised a lot of what she was cooking as the recipe for Spaghetti Puttanesca ( pronounced puttaˈneska )

What’s that?



Spaghetti alla puttanesca


It typically includes tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic, in addition to the pasta. This recipe adds fresh tomatoes and basil – and that was even more delicious – but you don’t need to. You could also use parsley.

It was a well known Italian dish invented in Naples many decades ago. There are two schools of thought about the reason for the name. The name Puttan ( meaning prostitute or whore ) is very easily used by people in Italy ( a little like we might use the word ‘damm it” or ‘sh**t !  In fact, we notice the French and the Spanish throw this word around quite liberally ( in their own language !)


What’s the story ?

So, the first story is that it was the recipe used by prostitutes about a century ago because it was easy to make, and used whatever was in the cupboard – these ingredients were typically in any Italian cupboard ! So people kind of say, its easy because they just throw a lot of ‘sh**t in from whatever’s in the cupboard!

The more popular story is that it was quick and easy for the prostitutes way back to make in between appointments – the added benefit was that it smelled so good it brought more business in from the street !


Kitchen tools

chopping board
sharp knife, large frying pan or saucepan

( Not eveything needs a hand blender needed ahahaha ! )

Easy Tomato Salsa Dip

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a good kitchen knife! 

or research forever then be disappointed… 

These are the knives we use. We know and love them, and even took them with us in our new simple life.

We know so many people that have bought very costly, extra-special knives … only to be disappointed. So, I’m really glad to finally be able to share this one with you because I LOVE chopping. It’s so therapeutic… well, maybe chopping for up to 4 people is ! And, these ones won’t break the bank. 

My favourites are the largest which I use most, and are best for chop chop chopping !  and the small most flexible one to get round corners and inside skins.

The best and simplest utensil storage tool – the magnetic wall strip !

Easy Tomato Salsa Dip

These look lovely in a box in the drawer, but I have to say it won’t necessarily fit in your drawer. Don’t worry if it doesn’t. Store them as you like. They’re worth it. We used to store them on a magnetic strips you put on the wall a bit like this one – hmmm that reminds me – did we leave ours behind !


If you do still want a drawer organiser you might want to also check out this one from Joseph Joseph. We happen to know some of our readers love it, maybe it’s because  of the great price, or maybe because they also do matching fitted cutlery organiser and spice bottle organiser ( now that’s something we could have done with in our UK kitchen ! )


Easy Tomato Salsa Dip

Now, here´s that cool pasta maker for the microwave I was talking about at the beginning of the post. I love it for draining and storing the pasta too, so you can just reheat pasta when you´re ready to add it to any sauce. It´s much healthier for me that way, being less carbs, and just make sure you don´t keep your pasta more than about 4-5 days in the fridge. 


microwave cooking tools

Servings : 4      |       Prep Time : 10min      |      Cooking  Time : 15-30 mins       |     Difficulty : 1/5

Essential Ingredients


1.5  tin tomatoes

 a few fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons capers

1 cup of black olives ( or green !)

2 or 3 anchovies

2 cloves garlic

1 onion

handful of parsley




No parsley ?…use basil – i think I preferred that one anyway

No black olives ?… use green  – or even a mix


 Step 1

Chop everything up – nothing like having mise on place all ready ! 

Step 2

Heat the olive oil, then add the onions and cook until golden, then add the garlic for a few more minutes.

Step 3

Add the tomatoes, and put the spagetti on in a separate pan to cook. 

Step 4

Add the capers and olives and cook the sauce down. If adding red wine do it now to a boil, then simmer for about 10mins minimum till the sauce thickens. 

Step 5

Grate the parmesan, we love to use a good micro-grater. Add some to the sauce, reserve the rest for serving. If adding parsley, do it now, along with salt and pepper.

Step 6

When the spagetti is cooked, drain it and then add the drained spagetti to the sauce.

Serve onto plates / wide bowls ( easiest done with tongs ), and top with parmesan.


Enjoy your adult pasta !


Easy Tomato Salsa Dip


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Aoibheann & Paul

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