Spaghetti Puttanesca: Good Spaghetti with the Bad Girl Name

 Puttanesca A simple spaghetti puttanesca, or as it could be translated
from Italian:“ slut’s spaghetti” is a combination of homey ingredients that
results in pure alchemy. Combine tomatoes, olives, capers, some anchovies,
garlic, oregano and these rustic ingredients turn into soothing, comforting,
delicious goodness.

 Why name something so purely wonderful after a whore? As
with all hand-me-down recipes there are as many theories as there are tangled
noodles on my plate.  It was called
a call-girl’s spaghetti because:

it was quick enough to make and eat between

it was quick enough to serve to clients when
they were hungry

prostitutes usually aren’t very rich, e so it’s
what they could afford to eat

in the 1950’s Sandro Petti, owner of the famous
Ischia restaurant Rancio Fellone claimed he invented the sauce when hungry
friends arrived after hours and begged  "Facci una
puttanata qualsiasi
" which roughly translates as “make any bloody

another name for this dish invokes the “figlio d'una buona donna” as in pasta of
the son of a good woman, except the meaning of the good woman is ….the same as
a puttana and her offspring

perhaps the salty, fishy flavor of the sauce is
reminiscent of other pleasures.


You can ponder the origins of the name
while you cook the sauce, which is another one of those “in the time it takes
to cook the pasta” sauces.

 All quantities for this recipe are
very, very flexible; it’s all about using up what’s on hand. (Don’t you just
love a good innuendo?)


Spaghetti Puttanesca

1 cup tomato: puree, sauce,
canned, chopped or freshSpaghetti Puttanesca

½ medium yellow onion, diced (In
Italy, they are known as cipolla dura, or hard onion, but that might be just
too much innuendo)

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

5-10 roughly chopped olives

1 T of capers

2-3 salted anchovy filets that
have been rinsed

½ t dried oregano

Some chili peppers…you be the
judge how hot you want your whore’s spaghetti.

1 T butter

olive oil, salt & pepper to


Put the pasta water on to boil. Don’t
forget to salt the pasta water.

Now prep your onions, olives,
garlic, and anchovies.

 Soften the onions in a few
tablespoons of olive oil ((it’s the only time I’ll use the word soft, ok?),
then add everything else except the butter.


Cook your pasta, when it’s done
and right before you are ready to drain the pasta, add the butter to the tomato
sauce and mix well.

(Question: why do recipe
instructions always tell you to drain the pasta…what you are going to do, serve
it in the cooking water? If you don’t know enough to drain the pasta, I would
suggest that someone else be in charge of making dinner.)


Place your drained spaghetti in a
bowl, add the sauce, grate a little cheese and you are good to go. What you
choose to wear while serving spaghetti puttanesca is your call.








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