Pasta Puttanesca is a quick and easy-to-make pasta favorite that has something of a nasty girl history. But don’t let that make you think that a Puttanesca is anything “lesser-than.” In Italy, a Puttanesca sauce ranks among the most favorite and classic pasta sauces of all — right up there with sauces like Bolognese and Carbonara!
But yes, the word “puttana” has a meaning. In Italian, it translates to mean: whore. “Hookers Pasta” is the nickname for Pasta Puttanesca. Legend has it that Italian ladies of the night would make Pasta Puttanesca because it didn’t take long to cook and they could quickly “get back to work.” And that’s the truth, Ruth!
Pasta Puttanesca Recipe
12 ounces pasta (spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1/2 – 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (spice it up!)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup pitted black olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt, and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Parsley or fresh basil leaves to garnish
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with puree, olives, anchovies, capers, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Simmer sauce over medium-low heat until thickened, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta; return to same pot. Add sauce and parsley. Toss over low heat until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Serve with cheese. Garnish with parsley or fresh basil.