Pete’s Simple Puttanesca

Here’s a recipe I adapted from one presented by Jamie Oliver. The ingredients:

  • Olive oil.
  • A handful of olives, green or black, pitted.
  • A couple of tablespoons of capers.
  • Some red, green and/or yellow peppers.
  • A can of tomatoes, whole or chopped.
  • A splash of hot sauce.
  • Pasta — spaghetti, linguine, or other.

Splash some olive oil into a frying pan and bring it up to medium heat. Chop the olives and peppers and add to the frying pan along with the capers. Cook for a while. Add a splash of hot sauce, to your taste. After a while add the tomatoes — if you use whole tomatoes chop them up with a knife while still in the can. Add whatever spices you have handy — oregano, basil, etc. to taste. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce.

Boil salted water, add pasta, cook per instructions on the package. When the pasta is done to your taste, drain most of the water, but not all of it (this is key) from the pot, leaving the pasta in the pot. Then add the olive-tomato mix from the frying pan and mix well.

Serve into large bowls. If you run some how water (and then remove) into the bowls before you add the pasta they’ll be nice and hot and won’t cool off the pasta. Sprinkle salt and ground pepper to taste.

The result is quite unlike standard pasta with sauce, and has a nice bite to it. It’s a flexible enough recipe that you can substitute for whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand, although the olives and the capers are central.


Robert's picture
Robert on February 16, 2009 - 14:39 Permalink

I learned how to make it from Jamie Oliver as well, but I see you’ve avoided mentioning the origin of its name :)

Lionel Stevenson's picture
Lionel Stevenson on February 17, 2009 - 13:59 Permalink

What, no anchovies?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on February 17, 2009 - 14:50 Permalink

Well of course anchovies if you happen to have them sitting around. We almost always have olives can capers in the house, anchovies less-so.