Spaghetti Puttanesca

“Ladies of the Night” Pasta

Puttana in Italian means, “lady of the night.” Some have guessed this to be a quickly made dish between “tricks.” Now that we got that out of the way, this dish uses umami bombs with tomatoes, anchovies, and cheese. Puttanesca sauce clings well to the pasta. I actually prefer to serve it over a really shapely macaroni—my favorite is cavatappi [see below].

Marinara with Home Grown Tomatoes and Garlic

INGREDIENTS: If you have ripe tomatoes, it’s fun to make a scratch marinara. Otherwise, use prepared marinara

  • pasta – 1 LB, cooked al denté
  • olive oil – 2 TBS
  • anchovies – 6 fillets, or 2 tsp. anchovy paste
  • onion – 1-1/2 cups, thin slices [I cut onion through the poles]
  • garlic – 1-1/2 TBS, [3], chopped
  • tomatoes – 14 oz. can, diced with juice
  • tomato paste – 2 TBS
  • olives – kalamata, halved
  • capers – 2 TBS, rinsed, coarsely chopped
  • red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • parsley – 1/4 cup, minced and measured
  • Parmesan – 1/2 cup, plus more to serve at the table [or Pecorino Romano cheese]

I love this cavatappi ribbed and corkscrew macaroni for this dish


  1. Cook the pasta, making sure to use heavily salted water to season the pasta well
  2. Sauté the garlic, onions, tomato paste, and anchovies in olive oil until onions wilt, a few minutes
  3. Add in the tomatoes with their juice, olives, capers, and the chili flakes then bring just to a simmer
  4. Simmer the sauce until the sauce begins to break up and liquid separates from the tomatoes, 5 -7 minutes
  5. Remove the sauce from the heat and add in the parmesan [or pecorino]
  6. Taste and adjust for seasoning; the anchovies do quite a bit of the seasoning
  7. Top with chopped parsley and serve over hot pasta with extra cheese to pass

My sister mailed me garden fresh tomatoes and garlic which triggered the making of Puttanesca

by B. Hettig

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