Friday, October 18, 2013

Pasta Alla Puttanesca; with grape tomatoes

This is a very naughty Pasta dish  

It’s called Pasta Alla Puttanesca….translated as Pasta of the whores….oh my! 

I have no idea why it’s called Pasta Alla Puttanesca but I did some research and found that not too many know why it’s referred to a pasta dish that  supposedly originated from a brothel or its occupants.  In truth, this pasta dish is quick and easy , it is vibrant, tangy and wow satisfying!  ;)

Wikipedia writes that Sandro Petti invented it in the 1950s, co-owner of Rancio Fellone, a famous Ischian restaurant and nightspot.   He created it when near closing one evening, Petti found a group of customers sitting at one of his tables. Petti was low on ingredients and told them he didn't have enough to make them a meal. They complained that it was late and they were hungry; make any kind of garbage they insisted (puttanata qualsiasi). All he had in the kitchen was tomatoes, olives, and capers and he created the sauce.

I imagined a sort of opera-esque scene of “ladies of the night” creating this dish while singing arias of their lives as a whore… what can I say I have a vivid imagination, plus I love musicals. 

Pasta alla Puttanesca (my version) 

 Printable Recipe

Two containers of grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (sliced or cut in half)
3 or 4 slices of anchovies
A handful of capers ( about a ¼ cup)
3 garlic cloves chopped
½ of tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 lb of of spaghetti… you can also use linguine, or fettuccine – the pasta in my pictures is fettuccine regatta
3 or 4 leaves of basil ( roll them like a cigar and slice)

Put up the pot for the pasta and start to boil the water


Chop the garlic and add to a frying pan that is coated with olive oil, add the red pepper flakes

Next add the slices of anchovies – this adds a layer of taste to the dish – while the anchovies fry in the oil with the garlic it dissolves.  Once the garlic starts to cook for a minute or two you can add the tomatoes, season with sea salt and black pepper, let that simmer on a low heat.
At this point, get the pasta water to boil (this is a quick sauce but I try to simmer it a little longer without drying it out) once the water is boiling add your pasta; I follow the instruction on the box, 8 to 9 minutes to make pasta al dente.  About a minute or two, before the pasta is done I add the capers and the sliced fresh basil to the tomatoes that are now in a bubbly sauce.  When the pasta is done, add to the sauce and mix well and carefully.  At this point to make it somewhat creamy, I add about 1 to 2 ladles of pasta water.  That’s it – so easy, so fast – It’s scandalous!

Serve with Italian Bread and a salad 


Mangia, Mangia…No Talk!


  1. I love it when you cook! (I know you cook all the time but I mean I love it when you show us what you cook!) The odd thing is that I accidentally bought a jar of Alessi Puttanesca Sauce when I was stocking up when their sauces were on sale and I wondered what to do with it. Your dish looks wonderful. I have never heard of the pasta you used but will look for it.

    Now, help me out here, please. If I wanted to use the jar I have, what do you think I should add to it. In other words I want a shortcut but I don't want to just dump the jar onto pasta. More anchovies sounds good and I have a little basil left. Anything else?

  2. Thank you for stopping by Dewena, yes I would fry up a couple of cloves of garlic add anchovies and go with the basil it adds a sweetness to the sauce. You can also add some olives or capers if you want I am a huge fan of doctoring up a recipe. Let me know how it came out. Enjoy! Have a great weekend! :) I


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