Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

It seems like every Italian dish has a story behind it. Alfredo sauce, for example, was supposedly invented by a man (named Alfred, naturally) whose wife was having trouble producing milk after childbirth. And panettone (“Toni’s bread”) was allegedly invented in Milan in the 15th-century when a nobleman named Ughetto Atellani fell in love with a woman named Adalgisa, the daughter of a poor baker named Toni. So the story goes, Atellani sold all his prized possessions to buy exotic ingredients like raisins, lemons and oranges. He gave the ingredients to Toni, who made a cake-like bread that was so popular that it made him rich, thus allowing Ughetto and Adalgisa to marry.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca has a decidedly less wholesome story. Depending on who you ask, the dish was invented by prostitutes who either needed something quick to cook between clients, or who needed a dish they could quickly cook for clients. One way or the other, this simple, easy to prepare, dish it’s one of my all-time favorite pastas!



1 large pot
1 large sauce pan
1 colander
1 knife
1 cutting board


1 pound dried pasta, preferably spaghetti
¼ cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 28oz can plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers
15 black olives
1 small can of anchovy fillets
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1) Prep the ingredients by draining, seeding and chopping the tomatoes, draining, rinsing and measuring the capers, slicing the olives, and chopping the anchovies.

2) Put the oil in the sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and saute until the garlic is golden but not brown and the anchovies have liquified.

3) Add remaining ingredients except for parsley and cook for 12-15 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, cook the paste until it’s al dente.

5) Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Toss or stir to combine.

6) Put pasta in individual bowls to serve, topped with chopped parsley.

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