Celebrity square meals #36: Paul Nicholas's 'Pasta Puttanesca'

Serves two
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This is perfect after a long, hard day of rehearsals, and it's about as delicious as quick, easy meals get.

It's not that I'm too lazy to cook a nice meal when I get home after a day's work, but I've never had the time to do much shopping, to search out tricky ingredients. And anyway, I've never been into that sort of cooking some men do to impress women (I rely on charm to do that).

It's an Italian classic [putanella translates as "tart", hence tart's pasta] but the best thing about this is you can vary it as you please, using whatever's in the cupboard.

200g dried pasta - fusilli and farfalle work well, but you can use spaghetti or whatever you have
A handful of black olives, stoned
2tbsp capers
One onion (it's OK to use white but a red onion is better)
Four anchovy fillets (lots of people hate them but I love them - they give any dish a kick)
2 large cloves of garlic
A little fresh ginger (unconventional, maybe, but vital if you ask me)
A jar of good passata
A little olive oil

First chop the garlic, ginger and anchovy fillets as finely as you can. Chop the onion too, and fry all of these together in the oil. Add the passata, capers and olives and turn down the heat.

At about this point, start cooking the pasta. When it's just about al dente, drain the pasta and mix it in with the sauce. Leave it for a minute more and there you have it - a delicious, quick meal, so you can spend more time eating it with your wife.

Paul Nicholas is touring in the comedy 'Mixed Feelings', which opens at the Richmond Theatre (020-8940 0088) on Monday.

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