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Puttanesca Pasta

'Puttanesca' is a derivation of puttana, which in Italian means 'whore'. Some say that the dish was served in the brothels that abounded in Naples, and was a cheap and easy sauce to make and serve to customers, keeping them occupied while they waited their turn. Others say that the name refers to the hot, spicy, flavour and aroma.

Whatever its origins, this sauce is generally served with pasta such as penne, and is a spicy melange of tomatoes, capers, black olives, onions, anchovies (this version has no anchovies), oregano and garlic, cooked together in olive oil.


225g dried penne or other pasta such as fettuccine
1 medium can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup halved kalamata (black) olives
1 Tbsp brine (the juice from the kalamata olives)
2 Tbsp capers
2 cloves finely sliced garlic
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tsp olive oil
Optional vegan Parmesan for garnish

Cooking Instructions

  • Cook the pasta until al dente.
  • Warm the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the basil, capers, olives, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Season the sauce with the salt, pepper, and brine.
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the pasta to a warm serving dish and pour the sauce over it. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 people

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