Orzo Puttanesca Bake

Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s One-Pot Puttanesca, this recipe primarily uses store-cupboard ingredients. This means it’s a great dinner for weeknights, particularly when payday seems like an age away. For those days you are particularly tight on money, you can forgo the fresh ingredients (apart from the onion and garlic) – I have put these in italics at the end to show they are optional. However, if having people over, this dish is a great way to impress by using all the ingredients listed. Not only does it look pretty, it’s also tasty and filling.

Anchovies, capers, and olives are central to a classic puttanesca. However this isn’t a classic puttanesca, so if you aren’t ready to step into the world of anchovies and capers, try frying up some bacon bits to use instead. Alternatively, if you have vegetarian guests, forgo the tuna and anchovies, and simply use the capers.


This recipe serves 4, and takes 45 minutes to make.

You will need:

  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • One red onion, finely chopped
  • Four garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Four anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
  • 100g black olives
  • Two tins of tuna, drained
  • One tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 300g orzo pasta
  • 600ml water
  • Breadcrumbs (one slice blitzed up or crumbled using you hands)
  • Lemon zest from one lemon
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 150g mozzarella, sliced
  • A few fresh basil leaves

You will also need a chopping board, knife, and large ovenproof pan.

Begin by heating your oven to 180°C.

Heat a glug of olive oil in your large pan, and fry the chopped red onion. Fry this for 8 minutes, until soft and just beginning to brown. Then, add the crushed garlic, 1 tsp chilli flakes, and chopped anchovies and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add in half the olives, the two tins of tuna (make sure you have drained these first), the tin of chopped tomatoes, and the 300g orzo pasta. Season with salt and pepper, and pour in the 600ml water so that the pasta is completely covered in water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes until some of the liquid has reduced and the orzo is partially cooked. You will need to stir every now and then to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Sprinkle over the halved cherry tomatoes and the rest of the olives. Lay the slices of mozzarella over the top, and finish by sprinkling over the breadcrumbs and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven for about 20 minutes.

When nicely browned on top, remove from the oven and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Sprinkle over the fresh basil leaves, and serve with a side salad and crusty bread.

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