Puttanesca sauce

12 May

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First things first.

No, it is not a fact that puttanesca sauce was invented by the puttana who earned their livelihoods in Italy’s brothels around World War II. It’s possible, I suppose. But, then, what isn’t?

Except for its geographic lineage, that being Italy, the southern part most probably, nobody really knows the true origin of the sauce. Believe me, I’ve looked and read and asked around. There are theories, several of them, but that’s all they are.

Titillating as it may be the most widely accepted brothel theory is, at best, weak.

This marks the (merciful) end of our impossible history lesson of the puttanesca.

Besides, do you really care who first threw together the most intensely flavored quick sauce known to humankind?

I’m content being in the dark and just enjoying the sauce. Wherever it came from.

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A puttanesca begins, as so many good things do, with plenty of olive oil, garlic, anchovy and some hot pepper. Saute for a couple minutes until the garlic has softened.

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Add a 28- to 35-oz. can of tomatoes, 3/4 cups of pitted and halved olives (Gaeta olives are traditional but Kalamatas are easier for me to source and so that’s what is used here), two or three tablespoons of rinsed capers, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for as little as 20 minutes, or up to half an hour, and you are pretty much all done.

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Though tossing in a handful of chopped parsley before serving would not be such a terrible idea.

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It took way less time to cook, eat and clean up after this puttanesca than it did trying to figure out whose bright idea the whole thing was in the first place.

Puttanesca Sauce
Recipe

4 tablespoons or so of olive oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 dried hot pepper, crushed
4 anchovy fillets

2 to 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
3/4 cup pitted Gaeta or Kalamata olives, halved
1 28-oz. to 35-oz. can of good-quality tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan saute the olive oil, garlic, hot pepper and anchovies for around two  minutes.
Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, salt and pepper, stir and allow to simmer at medium heat for 20-30 minutes.

5 Responses to “Puttanesca sauce”

  1. Fred Abatemarco May 12, 2020 at 11:11 am #

    Love love love this sauce. Do you ever use it for anything other than pasta? Say chicken or rabbit or fish?

  2. Rick Rector May 12, 2020 at 2:10 pm #

    Happy to see you’re using the whole clove of garlic and not picking out the green shoots. No need to do that – the garlic police aren’t around these days.

  3. John Gardner May 30, 2020 at 2:12 pm #

    Haddock alla Putanesca – Wow! I’ll be doing that again! Thanks, MM…

  4. John Gardner June 10, 2020 at 11:26 pm #

    Salmon works too! “8)

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