Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is translated as “Whore’s Pasta”, aptly named, as it is hot, fast and easy.  One of many legends asserts that the ladies of the night would attract their clients with the enticing aroma of this flavorful and gutsy dish and another is that its quick preparation made it popular as a fast snack between clients.  And, it is fast—just 2 minutes prep time and 12 minutes to cook.

  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced (optional)
  • 28 oz. can Italian tomatoes drained and roughly chopped in pan with spatula
  • 1 c. sliced green and black olives
  • 2 t. capers rinsed
  • ½ t. red pepper flakes
  •  salt
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • Freshly ground Grand Padano, Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Cook spaghetti to directions.  Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet at medium high.  Add garlic and anchovies for 20 sec.  Add remaining ingredients for 5 more minutes.  Cover and remove from heat.  Drain pasta, return noodles to pan with a 1 T. of cooking water.  Add sauce.  Cook 1 more minute.  Remove. Toss and add cheese.  Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.
[Alternate version]

In the summer, we like to use fresh cherry tomatoes instead of the canned Roma tomatoes.  You simply take about 3 pints cherry tomatoes, and half them, and toss with 3 T. olive oil and sprinkle with 1/3 c. bread crumbs.  Baked on a sheet at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.  The rest of the recipe is unchanged just use these baked cherry tomatoes in place of the canned.

You can also kick up the sauce with fresh basil which we also do in the summer usually in place of the olives and capers.