Pasta A La Puttanesca

I never tried anchovies before until a co-worked convinced me to try making this dish for myself. When I saw the list of sparse ingredients I couldn’t believe that a memorable dish could result from so little effort and ingredients. I was wrong though—really wrong. I’ve NEVER made this for company and not have them rant and rave about my “authentic Italian cooking.” *snicker—if they only knew* Oh, and by the way, I never give them the recipe because they will automatically assume that it will be different when they make it because of the anchovies. It’s a hoot what some people (myself included) get stuck in their mind and won’t let go of.


The interesting thing about this dish is that it is a customary dish made in Naples, Italy. It is said to have originated by the prostitutes either to be made in between their …er…customers…because it can be made so quickly, or actually FOR their…ahem…customers because it has so few and inexpensive ingredients.


When I was single, my single friends would come over and raid my kitchen and see capers in my “food storage” tease me. “Kellene, what kind of person has capers in their food storage?!” Well, after you try this dish, you may be just as crazy too.


One little tidbit of info, if you cook this properly the anchovies completely disintegrate. You won’t see a trace of them. They simply leave behind a perfect salty taste to compliment the acidity and starch in the recipe. Sprinkle with a little bit of your favorite Italian cheese. (Asiago preferred)  Enjoy!!!
Makes enough sauce for about 1 pound of pasta.


1/3 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup simple tomato sauce
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
1/4 cup pitted black olives, chopped
1/4 teaspoon (or more) dried chili flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup of chopped fresh oregano
3 salt-packed anchovies, soaked, filleted, and chopped


Into a heavy saucepan over medium heat, pour olive oil. Add garlic cloves, chopped. When they start to sizzle add simple tomato sauce, capers, black olives, chili flakes, oregano, and chopped parsley. Cook for 5 minutes and add anchovies. Cook for a minute or two. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve with about a pound of your preferred pasta of fettuccine, spaghetti or angel hair.



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