Pasta Puttanesca

Puttanesca sauce is a tomato sauce which is spicy and bold in flavor. Spicy from red pepper flakes. Salty and bold in flavor from anchovies, olives, and capers. Even if you think you do not like anchovies or olives, it is worth a try—the anchovies melt and the olives mellow. Best of all, it is a simple sauce that cooks while the pasta cooks. One further note: the heat of the red pepper flakes is easily adjusted—try starting with ¼ teaspoon.

Servings and Times

Serves: 3
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

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We start by putting a large pot of water on the stove, covering it, and heating it to cook the pasta.

Meanwhile, we smash the garlic cloves with the side of our knife (carefully), discard the peels, add a pinch of salt, and mince. In the same way, we pit the olives by carefully smashing them with the side of our chef knife and discarding the pits. The olives are chopped; yielding ¼ cup.

In a large sauté pan, we heat the oil over medium-low heat with the garlic and anchovies. When the garlic starts to sizzle and is fragrant and the anchovies are melting into the oil, we add the olives, capers, and red pepper flakes. We stir for a minute and add the liquid from the can of tomatoes. The tomatoes themselves are left in the can and puréed with our immersion blender before adding them to the sauce.

The heat on the sauce is raised as the water for cooking the pasta comes to a boil. We add a pinch of salt and the linguine to the water, stir, and cook according to the package directions.

The sauce is gently simmered and, right before the pasta is drained, we taste the sauce for seasoning. We add some freshly ground black pepper and parsley. The drained pasta is put back in the large pasta pot and some of the sauce is ladled in.

We toss the pasta to coat it with the sauce and serve it topped with additional sauce and some parmesan.

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