Puttanesca Sauce

January 9, 2014

By Anna Varriano

A naughty name for a nutritious and delicious multipurpose sauce! Puttanesca is an Italian term for “whore-style”. There are lots of funny theories why this sauce got such a naughty name. One is that it was a quick and easy pasta sauce for puttanas to make in between customers. Another is that other than a few ‘standard’ ingredients, such as tomatoes, capers, black olives, and anchovies, you can be free & easy with the rest! Puttanesca is my favourite tomato-based sauce. It is amazing on pasta and also yummy on white fish and chicken. Here’s my recipe!

What You’ll Need

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of diced onion
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups of sliced/chopped pitted black olives
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon capers
  • 6 to 8 anchovy fillets
  • 4 cups of whole tomatoes (canned)
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 ounces red wine
  • 2 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley

Step 1: Prep

IMG_1445Sautee onion in olive oil and 1TBSP of the butter until soft. This time I used a saucepan, but you can also use a big skillet.

IMG_1446Next, add black olives, capers and anchovy fillets. You can play around with the amounts to suit your taste! Stir it all up. It smells amazing already, and in fact, if you stopped right here, you’d have a delicious ‘sauce’/topping for many dishes! Take it off the heat for a minute while you do the next step.

IMG_1449Puree the tomatoes. These are homemade canned tomatoes courtesy of my mom! Packed with fresh parsley, basil, and her love! You can use pre-pureed or diced ones too. Remember you want to end up with about 4 cups.

Step 2: Cooking

IMG_1451The anchovies should be more or less ‘dissolved’ by now, so it’s time to add the tomatoes. Stir in tomatoes and return to heat.

IMG_1455Stir in tomato paste and wine. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 or 20 minutes.

Step 3: Serving

IMG_1453Just before serving, grab some fresh basil and parsley. I LOVE fresh basil and have been known to snack on the leaves straight from the garden! Chop both up nice and fine and add about 2 TBSP of each to the sauce. At this point you can also add 1 to 2 TBSP of butter. Mix together until butter melts. Sauce is ready to go! Give it a taste and add sea salt if needed. It freezes really well, so I love having left over sauce…and/or making a double batch. Enjoy!

Step 4: Leftover ingredients

IMG_1456Not sure what to do with the left over tomato paste in the can? You can do this while the sauce simmers. Scoop it out in 1 TBSP blobs and plop them on a piece of parchment paper.

IMG_1458Then put it on something flat that will easily fit into the freezer. Leave it overnight or until the blobs are frozen solid, then transfer the blobs into a freezer bag or freezable container and keep in the freezer, to use as you needed. It’s great to do this with all kinds of ‘left over’ ingredients! You can use an ice cube tray for more liquidy ingredients (like cooking wine, coconut milk, stocks, etc).



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