• Antoinette

I like it Saucy and Spicy

There are several stories as to how this next dish that I made came about. One version has the dish deriving from a bordello in a working class neighborhood in Naples. The word "puttana" means "prostitute" and puttanesca is an adjective derived from that word. So that may very well be the correct story however, there is a much nicer version that I'd like to share. A man that owned a restaurant in Naples, Italy had a group of customers sitting at one of his tables wanting to order a meal. Unfortunately, low on ingredients and ready to close, the owner told the men that he did not have enough ingredients to make them a meal. The men complained that it was late and they were very hungry, chanting "Facci una puttanata qualsiasi," which simply means "throw together whatever!" Being empathetic to the patrons, the owner looked in his pantry. He had nothing more than four tomatoes, two olives and some capers. He used these few ingredients to make the "sauce" for his spaghetti dish. The gentleman enjoyed it so much that the owner decided to put it as a regular dish on the menu, naming it spaghetti alla puttanesca.

The Naples version does include Anchovies, however Neapolitan version is prepared without anchovies and this is how I made it!

Spaghetti Puttanesca


3-4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

Large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano diced tomatoes (or whole broken up by hand)

1 (6 ounce jar) Italian mixed olives, drained, pitted and halved

1 (4 ounce jar) capers, drained

1 tsp. dried Oregano

Pinch kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 pound spaghetti noodles

Few fresh basil leaves

Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add crushed red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Cook approx. 5-10 minutes or until the sauce is reduced. Add the olives and capers stirring well into sauce. Add oregano, salt and pepper. As the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti noodles to water and cook until al dente. Drain and transfer the cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing, cooking for a few more minutes. Add the fresh basil leaves to sauce and then serve immediately. Top with Parmesan cheese!

Enjoy! 😉

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