This pasta has an interesting origin. Derivative of the Italian word meaning “lady of the evening,” some sources say it was a quick sauce the ladies would make between “clients” so as to not loose a lot of working hours. Others say it was a delectable sauce used by these working girls to lure customers. Still others say it was made by married women who wanted to limit their time in the kitchen in order to have more time with their lovers. No matter the true origin, Pasta Puttanesca is one of the quickest, easiest, yummiest pasta sauces you’ll ever make–the sauce will be ready before the spagetti is done! We’re talking date night-worthy pasta sauce in about 15 minutes.
My version of Pasta Puttanesca has a few more ingredients than the traditional, sort of an antipasto-meets-pasta combo! Just have a look at the ingredients that go into this delicious pasta:
1 package spagetti, linguini or capellini (angel hair pasta)
3-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
2-3 tsp anchovy paste (I know….I am SO not an anchovy fan, but the paste just disappears into the sauce and gives it an incredible nutty, salty depth of flavor. TRUST me!)
2-3 TBSP capers, drained
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pitted olives (I like the garlic-stuffed ones!)
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
(These 3 ingredients can be adjusted according to your taste)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce OR a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes–low sodium if you can find it; the anchovy paste, capers, and the parmesan cheese you’ll top it with add plenty of salty flavor to this recipe!
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (this makes the sauce fairly spicy, add less if you prefer less spicy)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
grated parmesan cheese–the best you can afford
black pepper to taste
Start with the pasta. Break into approximately 3 inch pieces, set aside until the water comes to a boil. When water comes to a boil, salt the water with a palm-full of salt and add pasta. Cook according to package directions and drain. (Always salt the water after it comes to a boil. Otherwise, the salt can sit on the bottom of your pan and damage it.)
While you wait for the water to boil for the pasta, start a large fry pan over medium heat, and add olive oil. When you can smell the oil, add the capers, anchovy paste and garlic. Stir to combine, cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add chopped artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and olives, stir to combine and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add pasta sauce or tomatoes and red pepper flakes, stir to combine, reduce heat to avoid splatters and simmer until pasta is done.
When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce, stir/toss to combine.
Add parsley and stir/toss to combine.
There ya go! You have 6 servings of an easy pasta with BIG flavor! An equally big red wine is in order–such as a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’re a white wine person, try a dry, crisp white–such as a Reisling or Sauvignon Blanc. Pasta Puttanesca is also yummy with shrimp, shredded chicken or ground beef. Serve it when you want to treat yourself, or treat that special someone. DH always says, “Wow, super yummy!” when I make Pasta Puttanesca. And I am continually amazed with the depth of flavor created from just a few ingredients, in just a short amount of time.