Pasta Puttánesca

Pasta Puttánesca

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Pasta alla Puttanesca originated in Naples sometime during or after WWII. Made with olive oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, dried red peppers, capers, black olives, over pasta and topped with grated Romano cheese and parsley. It is a popular Italian dish.

Some say the name originated in the brothels of the Spanish Quarters (Lady of the Night is puttana in Italian); others claim the modern name refers to pasta ‘prepared as it comes,’ that is, easy to cook, without frills or complicated preparation.

Although Pasta alla Puttanesca can be prepared in 25 to 30 minutes I prefer the slightly longer version which involves frying (browning) the paste then deglazing the pan with a good port wine.

Pasta alla Puttanesca

PREPARATION: 45 minutes – makes 4 servings

EQUIPMENT: chef knife, cutting board, rotary Mandolin food cutter, 2-quart sauté pan, 8-Qt with Pasta Insert

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet onion diced.
  • 7 cloves garlic sliced on the food cutter cone #4
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup Port wine or Chianti
  • 1 28 ounce can San Marzano peeled tomatoes.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 2-ounce can anchovies chopped.
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 quarts filtered or purified water for pasta.
  • 1 pound of rigatoni, penne or fusilli cooked.
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • ½ cup black Kalamata olives sliced or chopped
  • ½ cup Romano cheese, grated food cutter cone #1
  • ½ cup fresh basil chopped


In the 2 Qt. saucepan sauté onions and garlic in olive oil and butter over medium heat 275ᵒF until translucent and slightly brown 5 to 7 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking and burning. Deglaze the residue on the saucepan with wine and allow the alcohol to burn off for about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sugar, anchovies, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low 175ᵒF, cover open the vent and cook for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering cook the pasta over medium heat 275ᵒF until al dente (firm to the bite). Remove Pasta/Steamer insert to drain. Pour pasta into serving bowls.

Add capers and olives mix well and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Serve over pasta and top with fresh basil and grated Romano cheese.

NOTE: Cooking is chemistry. Pasta cooked in chlorinated tap water will change the chemical composition of the dish. Use only filtered or purified water.

Click on the photo to learn more about my cookware.