Recipe of the Week: Pasta Puttanesca

July 9, 2009 at 9:23 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week)


I’m not usually a big pasta fan but I’ve always loved this dish.  The olives give it a great zing and depth of flavor.  It’s a quick and easy dish good for a weekday dinner and it serves 6 so pack your lunch for the following day. If you’re looking for a little extra protein, you can toss in some tuna or clams. Less traditional but a tasty option.

We like to serve it with the Pascual Toso Malbec I reviewed yesterday. It’s a hearty enough wine to stand up to the flavor of this classic dish.  Serve it with a salad and crusty bread dipped in Virgin Olive Oil … I’ll even spare you the bad pun about whores and virgins.


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti, spaghettini, or linguine fini
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
  • 4-6 anchovy fillets, mashed with a fork
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (preferably Italian), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered (get the good ones, please!)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon  chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)
  • canned tuna or clams (optional)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh arugula (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 1/2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until barely al dente.
  2. While pasta boils, cook garlic, anchovys, red-pepper flakes,  1/2 tsp pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes to skillet along with olives, capers,  oregano, and tuna or clams if using. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready. Stir in sugar and salt to taste.
  4. Add drained pasta to sauce. Add parsley and arugula, if desired.  Simmer, turning pasta with tongs, until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan.
** Have you tried this recipe? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.

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