Spicy Spaghetti (Spaghetti alla puttanesca)
What is there to say about this dish and its "colourful" name? The puttanesca sauce is a hot, flavour packed sauce that is usually served with spahetti and has its origin in South Italy. The name "puttanesca" refers to the ladies of the night and one of the many different stories, that claims the origin of this dish, is that pasta was served with this sauce to the clients of one brothel in the city of Naples as "appetizer"!Another story claims that the dish has been created on the isle of Ischia, set in the bay of Naples, by a local artist called Eduardo Colucci, for his visiting friends, immediately after WW2. Then, there is another trail of claims that say that the recipe is from Rome and not from Naples.Looking at the ingredients (tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, olives, capers etc.) I believe that the true origins of the dish are from a coastal area of South Italy, probably in and around Naples, no matter what story is behind it. It's an easy dish to prepare and I would stick with the most traditional way to do it so that you will be sure to have a perfect balance between the ingredients. Last but not least, stay away from the temptation of using Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (you would spoil the flavours) and do not use herbs like oregano or basil (it won't be a puttanesca!).
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- 400 grams (14 oz) Spaghetti
- 75 ml (3 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil about the olives, you can also use 50% black olives and 50% green olives.
- 2 Cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 5 or 6 Anchovy fillets
- 40 grams (1 1/2 oz) Capers (buy the ones preserved in salt)
- 110 grams (4 oz) Pitted black olives (buy the ones preserved in brine)
- 350 grams (12 oz) Chopped tomatoes
- 1 Whole dried or fresh red chilli (alternatively use 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes)
- Salt for seasoning
- A small handful of flat leaf parsley (roughly chopped)
- Start rinsing the anchovy fillets under running water, then pat them dry with kitchen paper.
- Repeat the above procedure with the capers. Capers comes in different sizes; if yours are big then you can roughly chop them (in this recipe I used tiny capers so I did not chop them).
- Take the olives and cut them into rounds. Last, chop the parsley and set it aside; you will use it only at the end to garnish. Now, that the ingredients are ready, we start with the sauce preparation.
- Put the olive oil into the pan and heat the oil on medium/low heat. Crush the garlic with the blade of your knife and add it into the pan.
- Sweat the garlic off for few minutes until it is golden in colour, then remove it from the pan and discard it. Try to tilt the pan on one side and move the garlic around with a wooden spoon; it helps flavouring the oil.
- Now, move your pan away from the heat and wait for about a minute to slightly cool the oil down. Then, add the anchovy fillets.
- Using a wooden spoon stir and break the fillets down until they have dissolved.
- Bring the pan back onto the heat, add the capers and the black olives.
- Give a good stir for few seconds until the oil is hot again.
- Next, add the tomatoes.
- Add the chilli and stir for few seconds.
- Now, cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, check for salt and season according to taste.
- When the sauce is ready, sprinkle with parsley.
- Stir for few seconds.
- Meanwhile, you were cooking your spaghetti. Once the spaghetti is ready, drain it and add it to the sauce pan.
- Stir so that all the sauce is evenly distributed.
- Now, serve it straightaway.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!