Humble Origins

There are many variations of pasta puttanesca. The name puttanesca is derived from the Italian puttane or “whore”. According to one story, the name purportedly comes from the fact that the intense fragrance of this sauce was like a siren’s call to the men who visited such “ladies of pleasure.”

Most varieties of puttanesca come from Naples. However, uncooked versions exist and typically hail from Tuscany. The recipe below features crushed canned tomatoes. Colavita is a good brand if you can’t get Pomi vacuum-packed. Traditionally, the sauce is served with pasta lengua (long cut pasta such as spaghetti or bucatini). I didn’t have any on hand so used penne rigate instead.

Penne alla puttanesca

4 cloves garlic, minced
extra-virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes, to taste
Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
capers, drained
crushed tomatoes
chopped Italian parsley

Saute garlic in olive oil until it takes a bit of color, about 2 minutes. Add anchovies and stir until the anchovies disintegrate. Add red pepper flakes, to taste. Add olives, capers and crushed tomatoes. Stir and reduce heat. Cook for about 15 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently or until sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Fold in a handful of chopped Italian parsley at the last minute.

Add cooked and drained pasta to saute pan; toss. Serve immediately. You don’t need to check seasoning (or if you do, then do so sparingly). The sauce should be flavorful enough on its own without the need for added salt.

Cheese is superfluous. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Philistine added a little, you know, to “kick it up a notch”.


  1. Nice.
    I also read several accounts of the origin of the term “puttanesca” that say that ladies of the evening used to cook it because it was fast.
    I wanted to say that prostitutes in Southern Italy cooked this type of sauce because fishermen would pay them in anchovies, but maybe I just made that up.
    Mmm… I could go for some of this right now.


What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Your Home for Homemade Japanese Food

How to cook "with visual instructions" healthy, traditional and delicious Japanese dishes!!


To live is to battle with trolls in the vaults of heart and brain. To write; this is to sit in judgment over one's Self. Henrik Ibsen

Joshi Daniel Photography

Images of People Photoblog

V 8 Mile

Traveling vegetarian

The Garum Factory

Great food, real life


my food, my travels, my cooking, my traditions


Tylers culinary blog


Hi I'm Ronelle. I am happy to invite you into my french kitchen at our farm, Coin Perdu in Corréze. Bienvenue!

Restaurant-ing through history

Exploring American restaurants over the centuries

Food Garden Kitchen

Gardening and Cooking in North Carolina

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

Organic Gelly

-that stuff between your ears-

Photo Girl Travels

Taking the Road Less Traveled

Fats and Bird

Keep It Simple, Keep It Tasty

Catherine Cuisine

Gourmandise assumée, plaisir assuré...

%d bloggers like this: