Pasta puttanesca is a southern Italian dish that hails from Naples in the Campania region. Puttanesca refers to the potent tomato sauce that brims with black olives, red chiles, capers, and anchovies. It's safe to say that this dish is no shrinking violet, as its name might suggest, and indeed this sauce is salty, briny, spicy, and vibrant.
There's no denying puttanesca sauce goes exceedingly well with pasta. It's also a wonderful condiment that is more than a fiery addition to spaghetti. Use it as a vibrant ragout, ladle it over fish such as swordfish or halibut, or use it as a bed for garlicky shrimp. Dollop it on grilled steak and chicken, or add a drizzle to eggs. Even a smear on crostini will stand in for an easy appetizer in a pinch.
You can count on this sauce as a year-round kitchen staple. While tomatoes at the peak of their season are always a desirable ingredient, there's no issue with using packaged grape or cherry tomatoes in the off-season. Just cook them down to a sludgy consistency and let the other ingredients deliver their wallop of flavors. This recipe does just that.
Puttanesca SauceActive Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup cured black olives, pitted, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 anchovies, mashed
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice (optional)
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and taste again. If too tart, add the orange juice. Remove from the heat and cool to allow the flavors to develop. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.