Italian recipes that you need to know: pasta alla puttanesca

May 8, 2017

Have you ever heard of “pasta alla puttanesca”, or “penne alla puttanesca”? The difference, here, is only the type of pasta you’ll use, but there is something you definitely need to know, and it’s this typical Italian sauce that is perfect with basically every type of short pasta.

The puttanesca is an Italian sauce that typically includes tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, garlic and capers. And it’s yummy!

The origin of the puttanesca sauce is ambiguous, since various accounts exists as to when and how this dish was originated. What seems certain, is that this dish became especially famous during the Sixties, according to the Professional Union of Italian Pasta Makers.

Even the basic recipes can differ according to geography: for instance the Neapolitan version is prepared without anchovies, unlike the version popular in Lazio, and chili peppers are sometimes added. However, in most cases the sugo (the sauce) is salty and fragrant. You can pair it up with different kind of short pasta, such as penne or bucatini, but even with spaghetti.

Now let’s take a look at this unbelievably mouthwatering recipe.

Here are the ingredients for four guests:

  • 1 lb of penne or spaghetti
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup pitted, cured olives (rough chopped)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 handful of whole tomatoes (crushed by hand)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • salt to taste

But what about the preparation in itself?

Bring three tablespoons of olive oil to a shimmer in a large saucepan, then add the garlic, adjust heat (or even turn it off for a few seconds) and keep the garlic from burning. Saute until the garlic is slightly browned, then raise heat and add the tomatoes. Season with salt and then bring to a quick boil. Let simmer for ten minutes and stir on occasion.

Finally, add the olives, capers, red peppers flakes and half the basil. Keep simmering for 10-15 minutes until the sugo thickens.

You can now add your sugo alla puttanesca to the pasta, for its last minute of cooking. Al dente, of course. Top each dish with the remaining basil and… enjoy!

Read more about

Browse news by destination.