Pasta puttanesca

This dish called pasta puttanesca, famously named for the fact that Italy‘s “ladies of the night” would place pots of it in their windows to tempt men into the bordellos, is just as fast and easy as the original and requires nothing more than some ingredients you probably have in your pantry already. This quick, intense dish should be salty, piquant and hot. Pasta puttanesca’s saltiness comes from anchovies and olives; the piquancy from the tomatoes and the effect of the capers; the heat from dried chilli flakes. Pasta puttanesca is not a genteel dish – it should in fact be a little coarse and the flavours should explode in the mouth. It is the best of all standby dishes, ready in minutes and made from common ingredients. In my opinion, pasta puttanesca will come out perfect if you use spaghetti, but you can use any kind of pasta, really.

INGREDIENTSpasta puttanesca

1 pound spaghetti or linguine pasta
5 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (preferably Italian)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons drained capers
Pinch of sugar (optional)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped basil

DIRECTIONSpasta puttanesca 2
Cook spaghetti in a pot of boiling salted water, until pasta is barely “al dente”. While pasta is boiling, cook garlic, anchovy paste, red-pepper flakes, 1/2 tablespoon pepper and 1 tablespoon salt in a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until fragrant and pale golden, which should take about 2 minutes.

In the meantime, purée tomatoes with juice in a blender. Add tomato purée to garlic oil along with olives and capers and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready. Stir in sugar if desired (optional, I usually don’t use it). Drain pasta and add to sauce. Simmer until pasta is al dente, for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle pasta puttanesca with fresh basil and serve!

1. Pasta puttanesca

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6 thoughts on “Pasta puttanesca

  • June 13, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I love this post. I will like to know more

  • August 4, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Its very nice and G00d gurnishing

    • August 4, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate 🙂

  • August 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Your introduction is wrong; the ladies of the night in Italija did not prepare it for clients. They prepared it for themselves because it was fast, easy, no fuss…and they could get back to work as quickly as possible. The men did not come to bordellos to be fed. Duhhhhh!

    • August 5, 2015 at 10:55 am

      I guess you live in Italy and read a book about it, then. Oh, by the way. Here’s what I just found on (not a small site): The name has an interesting history. The story goes that “puttanesca” means “whore’s”, named in honour of the smarter prostitutes who’d make a version of this pasta for the gentlemen visitors to their bordello.

      Oh, by the way, keep your “Duhhhh” for yourself, am I making myself clear here?


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