The other day while we were in the Boise Coop Wine Shop for a Port tasting, there was this gentleman there tasting the port and saying he was making a Puttanescsa tonight. We said we were making a Pasta With Portanesca Sauce. Then someone from Italy on Facebook asked if the Portanesca was the same as the Puttanescsa. Confused yet? Here is the recipe and the history behind it for Puttanescsa. Enjoy!!

Note: A classic sauce made with tomatoes, capers, olives, and anchovies. The lore of Pasta alla Puttanesca, which translates as “Whore’s Pasta,” varies: some say it refers to the spicy, pungent aroma produced by its ingredients that enticed passing customers; others claim pragmatically that this out-of-the-larder dish was the easiest thing workers could prepare between customers, and cheap to boot. People cook it today because it has a remarkable flavor, is easy, and is made of ingredients easily kept on hand.

1 lbs Spaghetti or Linguini
½ cup + 1 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Anchovy fillets, chopped
½ tsp Garlic, finely chopped
3 c canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes (keep the juice), coarsely chopped
2 t fresh chopped Oregano, fresh chopped or ½ tsp dried oregano
2 T Capers
8-10 Black Olives, pitted and julienned

Put all but 1 T of the olive oil and the anchovies in a large skillet over a low heat and cook, stirring until the anchovies dissolve. Add the garlic and cook for about 15 seconds, taking care not to brown it (garlic gets bitter if browned)

Raise the heat to a medium-high and add the tomatoes, and juice, with a pinch of salt. When the sauce comes to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer until the tomatoes have reduced and separated from the oil. This will probably take 20-40 minutes.

Remove from the heat and set aside. If you want, you can now refrigerate the sauce and save for the next day.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, add 1 t of salt, and drop in the pasta all at once, stirring until the strands are submerged. If you have a smaller pot, you can use less than 4 quarts of water, but you must constantly stir the spaghetti for one minute.

When the pasta is halfway done, return the skillet with the sauce to a medium heat, adding the oregano, capers, and olives. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and toss with the sauce in the skillet over a low heat, adding the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste for salt and serve at once with fresh Parmesan cheese.


So there you have it. It really does look good and easy to prepare. Have fun and choose a good wine to go with it. Cheers!