I've made this sauce several times now and every-time I make the dang thing it comes out different. I decided to finally write it down!!! For me it's just a quick and dirty sauce that I throw together. This quick sauce is easily made with a well stock pantry.
If you google Spaghetti Puttanesca you will come away with many varying recipes and opinions regarding the etymology of the word Puttanesca and it's history through time. Just to give you a little background on the word Puttanesca it literally means, or relates to Prostitutes. This sauce has been referred to by many as "Whore or Prostitute Sauce". I'm sure there are numerous theories and ideas about the word Puttanesca but you'll have to decide for yourself.
Some fun thoughts on the origins of the word by yours truly. Just my opinion but what if the sauce was named Puttanesca because prostitutes gave out quickies and this sauce is quick and easy to make. Prostitutes are easy and quick at what they do....hmmmm. The sauce had been described as pungent, aromatic, assertive and sexy...hmm. Well, to me that could possibly describe a whore. Maybe I'm reaching?
This sauce is made with smack you in the mouth pungent ingredients. At a minimum the dish is made with garlic, capers, anchovies, olive oil, crushed red pepper and tomatoes. Additional ingredients are just optional. I'm gonna give you two recipes in one. There are some minimum ingredients you need to make a basic Puttanesca sauce and the rest are optional. What's in my pantry? I always have Anchovies, Olives, Canned Tomatoes, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, and Pasta in my pantry so at least for me I can make this sauce day or night. On the fly I will use granulated garlic, dried herbs if I have to.
Ingredients in White are mandatory
- 3/4 - 1 cup of your favorite Olive oil
- 1 can of Anchovies (should be 2 oz)
- 2 oz of rinsed Chopped Capers (4 oz jar after they're rinsed yields 2 oz)
- 4 oz of Pitted Chopped Kalamata Olives (about a 1/2 of cup)
- 8-10 cloves of Chopped Garlic
- 1 Tbl of Crushed Red Pepper (I like a lot more)
- 28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes or Whole Tomatoes Crushed with your hand
- 1 lb of your favorite Pasta
- 3 oz of Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes Packed in Olive oil
- A Splash of Red Wine (preferably a very bold one... about 1/3 - 1/2 cup)
- Zest of a Lemon
- Fresh Herbs such as Parsley or Basil
- 1 lb of Fresh Ahi Tuna or 2 cans of Tuna packed in oil
- 3/4 cup of Toasted Pine nuts if using something other than long pasta
Mise en place
I used 8 garlic cloves but should have gone with 10!!!
Chopped up Olives
Rinse off the capers and chop up.
Chopp up Sun Dried Tomatoes
↞I tossed the Garlic, Anchovies, Sun Dried Tomatoes in a mini food process and gave it a quick chop.
1 lb of Ahi Tuna sliced up a bit..... 1/2 inch by 1/4 or there about.
Toss in olive oil and heat up. Add your Crushed Red Pepper flakes. Add your Garlic, Anchovies, and Sun Dried Tomato mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes or so.
Add the Capers and Olives and cook this for about 3 minutes or so. Add Black Pepper to taste. As an option toss in your favorite Bold Red wine. Cook down for about 3 minutes.
Add Tomato product.
Thoroughly mix... add this point as an option add some Lemon Zest. I didn't because I.....forgot.
Boil your pasta in salted water and cook until that moment right before it goes Al dente. Do not drain. Using tongs transfer the pasta into the sauce. Reserve the starchy pasta water so you can add it to the sauce if need be (I do all the time).
Add the Tuna and toss. It will only take about a minute to cook the Ahi.
Toss in your favorite fresh herbs. Italian Parsley is the only fresh herb I had on hand which sufficed but I wish I Basil too.
NOTE: ADDING CHEESE TO A DISH THAT CONTAINS FISH IS A NO NO IN THE ITALIAN CULTURE. I DO IT ALL THE TIME!!!!! LOVE THIS STUFF.