Rumor has it that spaghetti puttanesca originated in brothels as a way to lure in customers with its rich aroma. All I can say is that I hope the ladies saved some for themselves. Goodness knows they probably needed it more than their customers. 😉
Origins aside, spaghetti puttanesca is one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes. In the summer, when tomatoes are ripe and delicious, I love to make it with Roasted Tomato Sauce. But, you can just as easily make it with canned tomatoes, making it one of those quick year-round dishes you can whip up any time you have a hankering.
(FYI: I always have a hankering for pasta.)
Spaghetti Puttanesca is a year round dish with seasonal options.
This is one of those dishes that you can take your time with, roasting a big tray of ripe tomatoes for Roasted Tomato Sauce and rolling out a batch of fresh, homemade pasta before you even begin making the puttanesca sauce.
It’s also the kind of dish you can whip up in under 30 minutes with ingredients pulled entirely from your pantry.
Since spaghetti puttanesca is one of the dishes I like to make several times a year, I do both. In the summer, when tomatoes are at their peak, Roasted Tomato Sauce is a staple ingredient in our house. I make tray after tray of it, freezing or canning as much of the stuff as possible so I can pretend tomatoes are in season even when they’re not.
But… the summer’s roasted tomato sauce doesn’t last long in our house. One of these years, I will perhaps manage to make enough to last us through the winter. But, as of today, I can tell you that’s never happened.
If we’re lucky, we still have a bag in the freezer (or a jar in the pantry) in early December. (We’re rarely that lucky.)
So, from about November through June, if we’re eating spaghetti puttanesca, it’s made with canned tomatoes. And, honestly, it’s just as good as when it’s made with roasted tomato sauce. Which is the beauty of this dish.
If you’re using canned tomatoes, try to find ones that say they were “fire roasted”. I love the fire roasted tomatoes from Muir Glen. But, use whatever variety you prefer.
Let’s talk pasta.
My friend Judy got me hooked on making homemade pasta a couple of years ago and I haven’t looked back. Ok. That’s not 100% true. I was kind of a slow learner.
First, I thought I could make homemade pasta without a pasta machine. Don’t try this. If you do, you’ll think pasta making is a ridiculous amount of work for so-so pasta and are liable to give up on the whole endeavor. Just buy a pasta machine.
This is the one I have.
My friend Judy has this same machine, but with a motor. I have the one with the hand crank. They are both awesome. The motor does make feeding the pasta through the machine a bit faster, but I didn’t feel like it made enough of a difference to justify the extra expense.
Either way you go, you really gotta have a pasta machine if you’re going to make homemade pasta. Trust me.
Second, it took me a few tries to get a feel for the consistency of the dough. Pasta dough isn’t like bread dough. For most kinds of bread dough, like my favorite homemade white bread, you want the moisture level to be fairly high. With pasta making, you want the dough to be pretty dry, adding just enough moisture to create a pliable, smooth dough.
This takes a bit of practice. BUT. The reward of fresh pasta is so totally worth it because homemade pasta is the bomb. I mean, it’s just so delicious.
Also, once you make it a few times and get the hang of it, it becomes so easy that you might never go back to boxes of pasta. It’s been over a year since a box of pasta made it into my shopping cart because, as is the case with most things, homemade is just so much better.
Wanna give homemade pasta a try?
I got together with Judy a while back and we created this step-by-step tutorial. It’ll be almost like we’re all making pasta together. I mean… it would be a lot more fun if we actually were making homage pasta together. But, this is the next best thing. ❤️
Weekly Meal Plans that include Spaghetti Puttanesca:
More Delicious Pasta Recipes:
- Pasta Bolognese
- 20-minute Garlic Chipotle Pasta
- Slow Cooker Short Rib Pasta
- Homemade Meatballs and Marinara
- 1 lb spaghetti, dried – OR 1 1/2 to 2 lbs fresh pasta
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 oz anchovy fillets
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp (or more if you like it spicy) crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup (about 2 oz) black olives, chopped
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups Roasted Tomato Sauce – OR 32 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 4 oz nonpareil capers, drained
- Chopped fresh parsley and shredded parmesan for serving
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Cook dried pasta according to the package directions, cooking it so that it’s just slightly underdone. If cooking homemade, fresh pasta, cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain in a colander set in the sink and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking.
- Add the garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, chopped olives, sugar, salt, and pepper to a small bowl.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and anchovy mixture. Sauté 2-3 minutes, breaking up the anchovies with your spoon.
- Add tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Stir in the capers. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Add the pasta to the pot with the sauce. Toss the pasta around in the sauce for 1-2 minutes to finish cooking the pasta and allow it to absorb some of the sauce.
- Serve the pasta topped with chopped fresh parsley and shaved parmesan.
Keywords: pasta, easy pasta recipe, quick weeknight dinner, pasta puttanesca, spaghetti