For the Minimalist: Pasta Puttanesca

For the Minimalist: Pasta Puttanesca

Allegedly a sauce initially made by prostitutes, its Italian name literally translates to “whore’s sauce.” This robust Napoletana dish is one of the quickest and easiest (appropriate…) sauces to throw together – all of the ingredients are imperishable pantry dwellers. The basic recipe is flexible, but most traditional Puttanescas contain the vibrancy of typical southern Italian ingredients: punchy capers, olives and anchovies.   

Pasta Puttanesca

  • 8 ounces fettuccini or spaghetti
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes (San Marzano or fresh)
  • 4 anchovies, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoons capers
  • 1/3 cup pitted and chopped black olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain. Run cool water over pasta and add the tablespoon of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking together.

Heat ½ cup oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.

Stir in anchovies, tomato paste, olives, capers, and red pepper flakes. Cook sauce 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, toss pasta with warm sauce. Garnish with parsley sprigs and shaved parmesan.

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