Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Puttanesca Sauce & Pasta

I wasn't familiar with Puttanesca sauce, so when watching a cooking show one day, I was really intrigued.  I watched Jamie Oliver make a puttanesca sauce with the addition of canned tuna, I hurried to get my paper and pen so I could jot down the ingredients while he made it.  Funny thing was, it was super simple, fast to prepare and I already had everything in the pantry to make it.

Puttanesca is a funny sounding word, I like to say it.  It's name comes from the Italian word Puttana, meaning a woman who sells her body for money.  The sauce is wonderfully spicy and has a delicious aroma, it's not for everyone but it's right up my alley.  Speaking of alley...the origins of the sauce is debated a bit, you can find a few different stories on line if you search.

I've read that the sauce was made by street walkers in Naples to entice perspective clients through their doors, there is also the one where respected married women used to throw their sauces at the street walkers as they passed below their windows while making their way through the streets (someone calls that respectable?).   It has been said, that street walkers were restricted to only doing their shopping during specific times and therefore would fill their pantries with goods that were packaged to prevent spoilage.  It is suggested as well that the sauce was a quick and easy meal to prepare between customers.  Whatever the origin...it is a delicious sauce to accompany your favorite pasta.  I used spaghetti : ) And...this time, no tuna...

Pasta Puttanesca
(adapted from Joy of Cooking)


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (more or less to your preference)
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (you can also use black olives)
6 anchovy fillets, packed in oil (use a good brand)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small container of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons minced parsley (I only had dried, so used that)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large pan
Add red pepper flakes and garlic, stir together for 30 seconds
Add anchovy fillets, olives and oregano (anchovies will dissolve while cooking from the heat)
Stir together and cook for 30 seconds
Add tomatoes, simmer for 5 minutes.  Crush a few of the tomatoes while stirring to help thicken the sauce
Add capers and parsley
Season with Salt and Pepper

Add pasta to sauce and blend together, serve and enjoy : )  Delicious!

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