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Pasta puttanesca is a dish that originated in Southern Italy’s Naples somewhere around World War II. Rumor has it, the Puttanesca sauce was invented and made by prostitutes. “Puttanesca," literally translated to "in the style of prostitutes," was supposedly named because the strong aroma was how Neapolitan sex workers would lead customers to their doors. Alternatively, according to food historian Jeremy Parzen, the name has more to do with the practical use of "puttanesca" in Italian than with its literal definition: "Italians use puttana almost the way we use shit, as an all-purpose profanity, so pasta puttanesca might have originated with someone saying, essentially, “I just threw a bunch of shit from the cupboard into a pan.” Whatever the origin, this extremely fragrant sauce is to die for. Bursting with flavor and so easy to prepare, requiring minimal time, effort, and cleanup.


  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata Olives, drained and halved

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans Diced Tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons Capers, drained

  • 1 pound pasta of choice

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced


  1. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil, garlic, Kalamata olives, and crushed red pepper flakes over medium heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring as the garlic becomes fragrant.

  2. Add the tomatoes and cook on low for 30 minutes until the sauce reduces and becomes rich and jammy.

  3. Add the drained capers.

  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain but save about 1 cup of the pasta water.

  5. Transfer the cooked pasta to the sauce and 1/2 cup of the pasta water, toss and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. If sauce is thick, add a little extra pasta water.

  6. Add fresh parsley leaves and serve with grated Parmesan if desired.


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