No piece on Puttanesca is complete without a knowing wink to the literal translation of the name: “whore’s pasta”. It derives its name both from its coarse, fiery flavors and the myth of courtesans favoring it because it is quick enough to put together and smells so good to lure in clients from the street.
Puttanesca is tangy because the ingredients it relies on for flavor — garlic, capers, olives, anchovies, and chili pepper, primarily — are assertive, pungent, and invigorating. Unlike traditional tomato sauce, which is tomatoey through and through, puttanesca sauce is a study in opposites: Anchovies and olives are salty where tomatoes are sweet, oily where tomatoes are watery, dark in color where tomatoes are vivid.
While pasta is usually the answer when we are short of time or materials, Puttanesca is the supreme example – more satisfyingly savoury than a simple aglio e olio, but less work than a carbonara, it is a handy one to master.
When you are done chortling, let's get to work!
Ingredients: Tomato Paste, Green Olives, Black Olives, Capers, Anchovies, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil, Chili Pepper, Garlic, Salt, Sugar.
Net Weight: 280g
Great with pasta, drizzled with lemon juice and topped with Pecorino