This is a fairly recent recipe in Italian cooking dating to mid-twentieth century. It is said to have started because a cook had only 4 tomatoes, 2 olives and some capers to feed some very hungry guys late at night in his restaurant. The recipe has evolved to include anchovies and sometimes peppers which is similar to what I do here.
Pasta Puttanesca Topped with Parsley
It is very easy to make and the sauce is made while the pasta is cooking. So this could become one of your favorite weeknight meals but will not be just something you throw on the table. The flavors are so intense it always makes you feel like you are eating something special. So let's get going!
1. Make sure you have all your ingredients chopped and measured before we start as this is going to go rather quickly and you don't want to be doing that as you go with this recipe.
Getting the Ingredients Ready to Go
2. Add enough water to a sauce pan to cook the pasta.
3. Place the pan on the stove over high heat and bring the water to a boil.
4. Add the pasta to the water and stir occasionally.
5. Once the pasta is in the water, add the olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes and anchovies to a sauce pan or fry pan and cook over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Do not brown the garlic.
Garlic, Pepper Flakes and Anchovie Paste in Olive Oil
6. Add the tomatoes to the pan to stop the garlic from frying and mix in the tomatoes with the garlic and oil. Break up the tomatoes and let them cook for a minute.
Add Tomatoes to Sauteed Garlic
7. Add the olives and capers to the pan and cook the sauce at a slow simmer over low heat while the pasta is cooking.
Add Olives and Capers
Gently Cooking the Sauce
8. Once the pasta is done, using tongs add it to the sauce, toss it with the sauce, and let it continue to cook for a few more minutes. You don't have to toss it with the sauce, but if you don't, make sure the pasta is cooked before serving it on plates and topping with the sauce.
Add the Pasta to the Sauce
Toss the Pasta with the Sauce
9. Place the pasta in bowls or on plates and spoon the remaining sauce evenly over the top.
Pasta in a Bowl with Sauce on Top