Pasta alla Puttanesca | Authentic Italian Recipe
Updated: Jan 11
This savory pasta dish has a not-so-savory background: it was traditionally known as the food of choice for Neapolitan prostitutes! Don't let the history turn you off, though. Pasta alla puttanesca is simple to make and very delicious!
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 clove garlic
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 flat fillet anchovies
- 10 kalamata olives, sliced
- 1 tbsp capers, diced
- 35 grape tomatoes, halved
- Fresh black pepper
- 5.5 oz. (160g) spaghetti, linguine or penne pasta
- Chopped parsley for topping
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Salt it generously.
Crush the garlic clove while keeping the skin on. Add it and the olive oil into a skillet over medium/high temperature until the garlic begins to bubble. Remove the garlic, lower the heat, and add the anchovies.
Allow the anchovies to fry for 1 minute, stirring occasionally, then add the capers and olives. Sauté for about 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes.
If your tomatoes are very fresh and juicy, you may not have to add any water at all into the pan. Otherwise, add a small ladle of the pasta water into the sauce. Bring to a simmer, add a pinch of black pepper and cook, covered, until the tomatoes have softened and released their juices—about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the pasta into the boiling water. Cook as directed, but for about 2 minutes less than the recommended "al dente" cook time. If the sauce finishes before the pasta is cooked, simply add a little more water into the pan so that it can continue simmering without burning. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste, if necessary (the anchovies and capers are already quite salty, so you may not need any).
When the pasta is ready, use tongs to transfer it into the sauce, along with 1-2 ladlefuls of pasta water. Turn up the heat, bring to a simmer, and stir all together for about 2 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente to your taste.
Serve immediately, topped with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.