Life on a Table recipe #182 – Lady of the night’s pasta

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Extract from the book Life on a Table by Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt

In Italy this dish is known as the “lady of the night’s pasta”. It is the easiest, tastiest pasta and it is literally just the contents of a few tins and jars that you add together. I guess the “ladies” didn’t have much time for cooking. It was also the first dish that my cousin Frank cooked for me. I always cook a big pot of this pasta on New Year’s morning to help settle the indulgence from the previous night.


30 ml olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 x 45 g tin anchovies, with oil

125 ml black Kalamata olives, pitted

15 ml capers

2 x 400 g tins tomatoes, chopped

15 ml tomato paste

5 ml dried basil leaves

1 chilli (optional), chopped

Salt and ground black pepper

Pinch of sugar

500 g penne

50 g grated Parmesan


Heat the oil, add the onion, garlic and anchovies.

Cook over low heat, stirring for 5-7 minutes or until the anchovies form a soft pulp.

Add the black olives and capers and stir for another minute or so.

Add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

Stir well and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cover the pan.

Simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring salted water to the boil and cook the pasta al dente.

Stir the cooked penne into the sauce and serve with grated Parmesan.

Photo ©Hentie Burger

Life on a Table can be purchased from Venture Media offices at 1 Mozart Street, Windhoek West, Namibia. To order a book email or phone 061 420 514.

Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

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