This is my sister NeNe's quick, easy and distinctive puttanesca sauce recipe. Try it on a brunch or luncheon buffet. Also good as a sit-down dinner party entree
For a small buffet, use a chafing dish, caterers' pan and rack or electric skillet to keep warm.
For a larger buffet, also consider using small tubular pasta. It will be easier to serve and over time, will not clump together as spaghetti will.
Make Ahead Puttanesca Sauce
The sauce can be made up to two days in advance or can be frozen for up to one month
Ne Ne's Puttanesca Sauce Recipe
Serves 4-6, easily doubles
1 pound spaghetti
3 medium cloves garlic, very finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
8 anchovy fillets, minced; (about one tin, oil-packed)
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained; reverse juice to moisten sauce at the end of cooking
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped; preferably kalamata, gaeta or oil-cured
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, in large skillet over medium heat, heat oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and anchovies. Cook, stirring frequently until garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2-3 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in capers, olives and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to serving dish. Pour sauce over pasta and toss to combine.
"Puttanata" is an Italian word which means something "worthless". It derives from the Italian word for whore, "puttana"
There are many accounts of the origins of this dish.
One tale tells of a mid-20th century restauranteur who was low on ingredients at the end of a busy dinner rush.
A table of insistent diners uttered "Facci una puttanata
qualsiasi," or "make any kind of garbage"
The restauranteur undoubtedly prided himself on quality customer service and whipped up a sauce from only tomatoes, olives and capers. He later included the dish on his menu as
"spaghetti alla puttanesca" or "spaghetti of the whore".