This spaghetti alla puttanesca recipe was first served to me by the nephew of my mother in law’s best friend. I loved the flavors immediately, for it had everything I enjoy in a dish: garlic, anchovies and black olives. Wow!
But I was intrigued by the name. “Doesn’t ‘puttana’ mean ‘whore’ ?” I asked. Alberto explained that the name comes from the dish being spicy and hot. Go figure these Italians!
Anyway, according to the Professional Union of Italian Pasta Makers the sauce became quite popular in the 60s. In Naples it’s prepared with anchovies and lots of oregano and in Sicily they add green peppers but no anchovy.
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
- ½ tsp chili flakes (more if you like it spicy)
- 5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 2oz can of anchovy fillets in oil, drained
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- In a skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil and the onions and saute until onions become translucid;
- Add the garlic and the chili flakes and give it a good stir;
- Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, the anchovies and the capers. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the anchovies are incorporated completely;
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in salty boiling water until "al dente". Save one cup of the pasta's starchy water. Drain pasta and return to to pot;
- Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the olives, toss well;
- Season with some fresh ground black pepper, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.