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Spaghetti with Puttanesca Sauce

  • 28 minutes
  • Easy
  • First Courses
Olives, fresh tomato, anchovies and capers give this quick and simple dish its intense and unforgettable flavor.

Ingredients: Per 6 servings

  • 1 ¼ lb spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 desalted anchovies, pounded in a mortar with a pestle
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 7 oz black olives, pitted and sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 ¼ lb tomatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • salt


Place a large sauce pan on the heat and melt the butter and olive oil.
Then add the thinly sliced garlic and pounded anchovies.

When the garlic begins to turn golden and the anchovies have dissolved, add the olives, capers and tomatoes.
Cook over high heat for a few seconds, stirring continuously.

In the meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Then drain and transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Toss with the sauce and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve hot.

Food History

Puttanesca sauce is very commonly found in both Campania and Lazio, where it can have many variations: some people add chili peppers, others do not use anchovies, capers or parsley, while others add black pepper. There are equally as many variations on the history of this dish: some believe that it was created at the beginning of the 20th century in the brothels of Naples and served to guests after their tiring sexual encounters. Other sources say that the women who worked in the brothels would eat the dish at dawn, after a long night of work. In an interview, architect Sandro Petti claimed to have created it himself in his restaurant in Ischia, called Ranio Fellone. According to Sandro, he came up with this recipe one night at the restaurant when some of his hungry friends arrived. The cook had already gone home and there was very little left in the pantry. Sandro says that his friends asked him to make una puttanata qualsiasi or anything that he could whip up. The architect made a sauce with the few ingredients he could find and served it to his friends with pasta. The dish was so well received that his friends convinced Sandro to add the dish to the menu, naming it puttanesca in memory of that evening.

Did you known that...

People say the great Italian actor Totò not only loved puttanesca, but was good at making it?

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