puttanesca sauce

The spaghetti puttanesca sauce recipe

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Spaghetti Puttanesca Sauce plate
A nice puttanesca sauce plate, photo by: nishidaryuichi

The history of the puttanesca sauce recipe is interesting. Some say, because of the italian translation of the name, puttanesca, which means prostitute, that this was a whore's favorite meal; in my mind the real story is slightly different, though.
Apparently, it was late one night and clients showed up to their
favorite restaurant in Ischia, Italy. More about Ischia here.  The owner quickly informed them he was about to close and thus didn't have anything to serve them... The clients, being very hungry as they were, simply replied: "Facci una puttanata qualsiasi", meaning just cook us anything! So the owner turned around and using what he had left in his kitchen, he improvised that night and created the puttanesca sauce!

- Now, please scroll to read this sauce's authentic recipe...

How to make spaghetti puttanesca sauce

1 large (28 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, halved
5 anchovy filets, chopped
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 can chopped black olives; or better chopped jarred black olives
3 Tablespoons capers, drained
2 Tablespoons dried parsley, chopped
1/2 to 1 small red chili pepper, chopped
salt, to taste
1 lb spaghetti or any pasta you prefer
As is, this recipe provides 4 portions.

Cooking Method:
Set the pasta water to boil. Then follow package instructions to boil your pasta;
of course, allow less boiling time for 'al dente'
Make sure you have olives, parsley and capers left for the end to be used for presentation.
In a deep saucepan lightly cook the garlic until brown, in hot oil. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes
Add all the anchovies, crush well with a fork.
Mix in the tomatoes, olives, capers and the chili, cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the parsley and cook the sauce a little more.
Put the ready and drained pasta in the pan, top with the sauce and toss pasta to coat.
Now, sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley.

It is against tradition to add cheese to this dish (but hey, its your life!)

Serve then, using leftover olives and capers to decorate; please take the time to garnish each spaghetti puttanesca plate,
for an unforgettable experience! Not everybody has tried this dish, so make it special and unique...


This Neapolitan specialty is getting to be known more and more in the United States and around the globe and people are loving it! For more pasta or spaghetti sauce ideas please check out this comprehensive site: spaghetti sauce recipe reference, for more easy and delicious pasta recipes...

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