Puttanesca. It’s a spicy sauce with a spicy origin. Actually, there are several theories about the history of the name Puttanesca. The Italian word ‘puttana’ means ‘whore’. (Sorry… it is what it is. We’re just the messenger.) Some say the pasta sauce was quick & easy for the puttanas to cook up between ‘clients’. Others say they made it for clients waiting their turn at the brothel. Another racy version is that it was a favorite of married women who quickly prepare their dinner in the kitchen so that they could visit their ‘luvva’.
No matter the original of the name, you’ll find the sauce is a hearty hit with the family. Try out the recipe atop some pasta. Fix a salad on the side along with some garlic bread… your family will love it!
If you’re not up for trying the recipe out yourself but would love to serve it, stop by The Kitchen Shop at The Culinary Center of Kansas City. We have it for sale by the quart in our Dinners on Demand freezers.
Puttanesca Sauce with Pasta
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 dried red chili pepper
- 1 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted, coarsely chopped (preferably Gaeta)
- 6 anchovy fillets, soaked in water to cover for 5 minutes, drained
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, if desired, seeded, chopped (or one (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, with juice, crushed between your fingers as you add them to the pan
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced, packed
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked to al dente, drained
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
For the sauce, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red chili peppers and cook for about 30 seconds or until garlic is pal blond, while stirring and crushing the peppers with the back of a spoon. Stir in the olives, anchovy fillets, and oregano and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, and continue to simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Add the parsley, capers, salt and black pepper and stir to combine. Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet and toss to coat well.
To serve, divide between 4 warmed pasta bowls and serve with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.
Makes 4 servings.