Pasta Puttanesca

There’s lots of debate about the origin of this particular sauce/dish.  One theory is that the dish was created by prostitutes as an attempt to attract customers by its enticing aroma.  Other sources say that the ladies, busy with other things, did not want to cook too much and thus turned to this easy yet tasty dish.

To be honest, I don’t care about who came up with it or why.  What I care about is the fact that this dish is easy, aromatic, and flavorful. As far as I’m concerned, those three adjectives have the ability to potentially lure anyone.

Pasta Puttanesca
Recipe from Ellie Krieger

8 ounces whole-wheat thin spaghetti, vermicelli or angel hair
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pitted chopped Spanish or Greek olives
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably “no salt added”
3/4 cup chopped fresh arugula
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the parsley, olives, capers, anchovy paste, oregano and crushed red pepper to the skillet, and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the arugula and simmer for 1 minute more, until the greens wilt slightly.
3. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the skillet, tossing it with the sauce to combine. Top with grated cheese.
Now, I used spaghetti squash in place of pasta.  I can honestly say I love it this way (but I dig it either way, for that matter).  It’s a really easy swap and in my opinion, just as satisfying.  I’m not an advocator of the low-carbohydrate diet, but if you’re looking to cut some calories, boost your vegetable intake, or you just don’t want pasta, give this a try!  For a great how-to for cooking spaghetti squash, visit Kath’s site.

Bring/salty olives and capers, fresh parsley, and slightly spicy red pepper make this dish a winner.  To whoever came up with it, prostitute or not, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.


2 thoughts on “Pasta Puttanesca

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