Pasta Puttanesca

Rumor has it that in Rome, ladies of the night who were voraciously hungry after a long night on the job, would come home and prepare pasta using staples always on hand in the pantry. This pasta dish, which is lusty and full of bold flavors, was named for the ladies. It is one of my favorites.

Rumor has it that in Rome, ladies of the night who were voraciously hungry after a long night on the job, would come home and prepare pasta using staples always on hand in the pantry. This pasta dish, which is lusty and full of bold flavors, was named for the ladies. It is one of my favorites.

  • 1 pound imported dried Penne
  • Extra virgin olive oil to coat bottom of pan
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, San Marzano if available
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Dried crushed red peppers to taste
  • 1 oil packed anchovy (optional but authentic and delicious)
  • 2 tablespoons small whole capers in brine (drained) or chopped large capers
  • ¼ cup good quality black olives, pitted & chopped
  • 3 tablespoons salt plus additional for seasoning
  • Liberal amounts of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped italian parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • ¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  1. Boil a large stockpot full of water for pasta, while preparing sauce.
  2. Heat olive oil in another large saucepan on medium heat.  Add onion and saute for one minute, stirring. Add garlic, red pepper (if using) and anchovy and continue to saute for several minutes until anchovy starts to dissolve. (do not allow vegetables to brown, but to look translucent).
  3. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as they are added to the pot.  Add capers, olives and black pepper.  Increase heat to medium high heat and boil sauce for eight to ten minutes to reduce and thicken.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of salt to pasta water.  Prepare pasta according to directions minus 2 – 3 minutes, until slightly underdone.  Drain pasta very well, reserving ¾ cup of pasta cooking water.
  5. Add drained pasta to pot of sauce gradually, mixing and adding reserved water as needed, to help moisten and bind the sauce together with the pasta, tossing as you add more pasta and water, until all of pasta has been added to sauce.
  6. Garnish with cheese and chopped parsley, serving immediately.

 

Serves 2-3 as entree, 4 as first course

photo by Kristi Senat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

7 × 1 =