This famous Neapolitan pasta dish, it seems, was invented after World War II. “Puttanesca” derives from a vulgar word for “prostitute”. Some believe it was called so because it was invented by the owner of a brothel in the Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish Borough of Naples), who used to prepare this dish for his customers.
- 1 lb long fusilli, spaghetti or linguine pasta
- 1.3 lb vine-ripened tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 small dried hot red pepper (about 1/2-inch long) or (1/2 tsp crushed red pepper)
- 1 tbsp non-pareils caper (small capers in salt brine)
- 1/4 lb (4 oz) Gaeta black olives
- fine sea salt
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
Wash, peel and seed the tomatoes.
Remove the pits from olives and rinse capers to wash away salt.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large (10 – 12-inch) skillet, heat 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add 2 garlic cloves and the chopped hot pepper and sautè over medium heat. Once the garlic has turned golden in color add the tomatoes.
Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, then add the olives, capers, dried oregano and 1 tsp of salt.
Continue to cook for 10 more minutes, then remove and discard the garlic cloves. Turn off the heat and add some chopped parsley.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain in a colander, then transfer the cooked pasta to the sauce skillet and toss over high heat for 3 – 4 minutes to combine and evenly coat the pasta with the puttanesca sauce.