Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Puttanesca Sauce

This sauce is very well known in the area around Naples, but seems to have been conceived only very recently, around 1950. To understand the fascination Italians have with the exact origin of this recipe, it’s important to understand its name: although ‘puttanesca’ does not mean anything per se, it comes from a very well-known swear word that is used to refer to prostitutes. It’s unclear what prostitution would have to do with a pasta sauce. Was it maybe a dish served in brothels? Or was perhaps just a recipe thrown together quickly, hurriedly?

What we do know, is that this sauce is delicious and very quick to prepare: perfect for any day of the week!

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 10 mins

  • Tomato sauce: 250 g
  • Pitted black olives: 70 g
  • Capers: 25 g
  • (optional) Chili pepper: 1
  • Anchovy fillets, in olive oil: 3 fillets
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Oregano, dried: 2 tbsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): as needed
  • Salt: to taste


Peel the garlic. Cut both the garlic and the anchovies in smaller pieces. Slice most of the olives. Drain the capers and pat them dry with some kitchen paper.

Brown the garlic in some oil, along with the chili. Add the olives and the anchovies, then the tomato sauce, the capers and the oregano. Cook for 10 minutes over low heat.

Season to taste. Your Puttanesca sauce is ready!

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