Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pasta Puttanesca

I usually don't eat a lot of pasta - it's just not something I crave. However, since I've got a 5K coming up this Saturday, and the Komen Race for the Cure 5K NEXT weekend, I've been dusting off some of my pasta recipes so I can "carb up" in preparation. 

Pasta Puttanesca, literally "pasta, whore-style", is a quick and easy pasta dish, combining the popular Southern Italian flavors of salty and spicy. SUPPOSEDLY, pasta puttanesca was a sauce invented by prostitutes, designed to lure customers in with its aroma. Other theories state that the prostitutes were too busy to cook, which is why this dish is quick to prepare, using ingredients commonly found in most Italian kitchens.

For a meatless pasta dish, puttanesca is full of wonderful flavors, and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. I took advantage of a Publix sale on "Italian" ingredients, so this meal was also really inexpensive, ESPECIALLY compared to going out to eat at an Italian restaurant! 

Pasta Puttanesca
adapted from The Italian Dish

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch dried oregano
6-8 anchovies
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
3 Tbsp sliced black olives
3 Tbsp capers
1 16oz box Barilla thin spaghetti

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; once hot, add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano and anchovies. Cook, stirring, until the anchovies melt & dissolve.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, squishing the tomatoes with your hands. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then add the olives and capers. Turn off the heat.

Add the pasta to a large pot of well-salted boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil, cook the pasta for 3 1/2 minutes. Remove the pasta with tongs (do not drain), and add directly to the skillet, tossing well with the sauce (if too thick, thin the sauce with a bit of the pasta water).

Serve immediately & garnish with fresh parsley if desired. 


  1. I *love* pasta puttanesca! I've always used a recipe very similar to the one you show here. It is so quick and easy, and delicious too. Yes, I know it to be of the same origins you describe here.

    1. Isn't it great and so easy?? I've heard of people adding tuna to puttanesca, but I like to just keep things simple :)

  2. thanks for linking this in to Food on Friday. Have a great week.

  3. Have always wanted to make this sauce! Looks delicious~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines