I cook pasta at least once a week, actually that sentence should probably read I cook Pasta Puttanesca about once a week.  I cook pasta more often but serve it with different sauces on the other days.  Puttanesca, or prostitutes pasta if you want to be accurate about where the name derives, is the house (I’m not sure what this says about the house but still…)  favourite sauce – as voted for by me and the kids.  My partner doesn’t like  olives so I do a different sauce for him…


Is it all 2 year olds that prefer hands to cutlery or just mine?

Although it does use a few store cupboard ingredients it is very much a kitchen garden sauce, especially the way I make it, with a decent amount of both tomato and parsley.  Intriguingly I did a quick search for puttanesca recipes on the net as I was writing this and although I’ve always made it with lots of parsley, many of the recipes substitute basil instead.  Depends on the palate of the prostitute perhaps?

Puttanesca Sauce (this is enough sauce for about 350g of dry pasta – I usually use spaghetti).  Incidently I usually use more parsley than shown in the pic below – my plants are looking a bit overharvested so I thought I’d give them a bit of a rest this week.

  • 3 tbpns olive oil
  • 6 large tomatoes or 1 pint of passata or 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • 1 tblspn capers
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 hot chilli or 1 tsp chilli paste
  • 20 black olives (I use Kalamata)
  • 1 large bunch flat leaf parsley – chopped

Heat the oil and fry the onion until soft, add the garlic and stir.  Add the anchovies and chilli and fry until the anchovies disintegrate.  Add the tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes dissolve and take on a sauce consistency.  Add the olives, capers and half the parsley.  Cook for another couple of minutes.

Combine with cooked pasta of choice – I particularly enjoy this sauce with spaghetti.  Transfer to serving plates and top with the remainder of the parsley.  Top with parmesan.  Serve.  Delicious and highly addictive.

To take a look at what others are cooking this week travel over to the Gardener of Eden.

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24 Responses to Puttanesca

  1. Gardenglut says:

    Simple but nothing much nicer, I love those flavours together…

  2. Robin says:

    Boy, this sauce sounds wonderful! I have never heard of this sauce. I am going to ask “The Italian” if he has heard of it when he gets home.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Liz says:

      Isn’t that interesting, I forget sometimes that Italian cuisine is really regional isn’t it. I think this is a southern Italian sauce.

      • Robin says:

        “The Italian’s” mother’s family is from the Naples region and his father’s family is from Sicily. So, we do have a good variety of recipes. Did you know that each village or town has their own meatball recipe??

        • Liz says:

          I bet there’s more than a little bit of discussion about the merits of each recipe too. Its interesting how much recipes for day to day things like meatballs vary and I guess how you ate then as kids will determine which ones you favour as an adult. What a fabulous culinary heritage to have! A tad more interesting than mine (lamb chops with 3 veg – butter to liven up the veg if I was lucky).

  3. Bumblelush says:

    YUM! I love olives and puttanesca sauce is one of my faves. I should try to make this this year with home grown ingredients.

    • Liz says:

      I have to say it is hugely satisfying using your own produce to make things that you would normally go to the shop for. If only I had an olive tree….

  4. Mark Willis says:

    I’m with “Him” on the olives. No, I’ll correct that. I like some olives, especially the Kalamata ones, but I dislike cooked olives. I think they taste like “Germolene” antiseptic cream! 🙂

    • Liz says:

      I like Kalamata best too. Fortunately I’m not familiar with Germolene so I will have to take your word for it. Maybe it tastes good with pasta?

  5. Andrea says:

    Great simple recipe(italians are so good at that) and if the whole family enjoy the meal including a 2 year old well thats 10/10 in my book!

  6. I’m with him and Mark too. Mark describes the taste exactly how I taste it too. Funnily I like cooking with olive oil though! I’m not an anchovy fan either and but was amaze to learn that it was an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.

    • Liz says:

      What is it with you English and your appalling taste buds – my partner is from Dorset so I am very familiar with the problem – he he he. Actually I didn’t used to like olives but long ago when I was trying to give up smoking they were the only snack available at a party, so rather than pick up a cigarette I picked up an olive, and another, and another…..

  7. L says:

    Puttanesca is a staple in our house too. Although I’m in the basil camp. Growing capers is on my list of projects to tackle soon.

    • Liz says:

      Michelle at Seed to Table has heaps of info about them on her blog. After reading it I was tempted to give them a go – I think there are a couple of growers in South Australia from memory.

  8. I go with basil too, but I’m interested to try with parsley now. It’s a frequent one in our house too. My recipe has lots of garlic too, but I simple direct recipes like this that rely on really good flavourful tomatoes are wonderful.

    • Liz says:

      Do you know I’ve never made it with basil but I am cooking pasta tonight so I will give your version a try. I am a bit addicted to parsley though so perhaps a combination…..

  9. KL says:

    Yummmy…so seems like I also cooked a different version of prostitute pasta yesterday :-). Mine just had tomato sauce, garlic, onion, carrots and beans. Wait till I tell my partner that he is eating prostitute ;-)…oh dear! I am blushing on writing such a sentence. Hope your children don’t read all these comments. I have to cook your version one day.

  10. Dave says:

    A classic recipe! My wife isn’t big on anchovies, so I sneak them in things (she eats them more often than she knows). I didn’t always like ripe olives, but now they are my favorite.

  11. Love your sauce and must try it with parsley instead of basil though I’m another one would pass on the anchovy addition!
    I love olives now but I remember as a child and as a young adult detesting them and would meticulously pick them out of any dish-and now I adore them!

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