Serves: 5

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking: 20 minutes

Spaghetti alla puttanesca in Italian actually means “pasta in the style of the whore.” The name is derived from the Italian word ‘puttana’ meaning ‘whore’. There are many interpretations of this recipe, but my interpretation came from my family’s story dated back when being a prostitute was considered a legal job. The intense and delicious smell of this recipe’s sauce would lure men in from the street into the prostitutes’ ‘office’ for the night. Regardless of the recipe name’s origin, Puttanesca is a tasty and vibrant sauce that is great to keep in mind when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare a meal!


500 gr / 1 lb spaghetti

2 handfuls of capers, washed and rinsed

3 handfuls black olives (like kalamata or gaeta), pitted

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

120 ml / 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1,5 kg / 6 cups plain tomato sauce

2 handfuls fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

3 handfuls coarse sea salt

½ tsp of chili flakes


Wash and rinse the capers very well to get rid of the salt.

In a sauté pan large enough to hold all the pasta, pour an abundant amount of extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom. Sauté the garlic cloves, capers, olives and chili flakes in olive oil. Then, add the tomato sauce and cook for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens while stirring occasionally. Do not add more salt to the sauce because the capers are already very salty.

Bring water (about 4 quarts) to boil in a large pot, then add coarse sea salt. Add the spaghetti to the boiling salt water and cook until al dente (check by tasting). Once cooked, drain the pasta very well.

Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan with the sauce and sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat allowing the spaghetti to absorb all the flavors of the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


The capers MUST be preserved in salt. Do not buy capers in vinegar because the taste of your sauce will be totally different.

If you are not vegetarian, you can also add some anchovies (which are really delicious and authentic to Italian cuisine…) to the sauté.


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