Purely Italian Puttanesca Sauce

Purely Italian Puttanesca Sauce

How to Make Your Own Italian Puttanesca

If you are searching for an authentic Italian staple to serve with your pasta and a glass of red wine, look no further than a Puttanesca sauce, vaguely similar but infinitely more flavorful than the Americanized red pasta sauce that can be found on any grocery store aisle. Although some variation may be allowed for your Puttanesca, a purely Italian one at the least will be a little salty and very fragrant. The salt will come from the capers and olives; the bold fragrance will come from the mounds of garlic used. As with any good Italian red sauce, crushed tomatoes are a must. Put all these together and you have a “Sugo” (Italian for “sauce”) that is rumored to have been created by a 1950's era Italian restaurant owner after he didn't have enough ingredients to make a proper sauce for some of his late-comers.

His name was Sandro Petti, and his first response to their request for a late meal was to explain that he was out of ingredients and then to send the crowd on their way. The hungry group simply didn't take “no” for an answer and responded, “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi” roughly translated, “Make any kind of garbage”. So, considering the low expectation set by his customers, Petti took the remaining ingredients in his kitchen- four tomatoes, two olives and some capers- and created a sauce that remained on his menu and can now be found on the menus of many all over the world today.

How can you create a puttanesca sugo? There are several variations of the founder's recipe to be considered. A basic sauce can be made by using the traditional ingredients that Petti used and adding any desired twist. Anchovies, for example, are a popular choice for an added ingredient. Onions, different types of cheeses and chili peppers are also brilliant options. Start, as with any sauce, heating up some oil in a pan. Add some garlic and then throw in your twist – perhaps red pepper flakes for kick, as well as some anchovies - mashing them all together with a wooden spoon.

You want to cook your ingredients until the garlic is fragrant, which should take only a couple of minutes. Add whole tomatoes to your sauce, crushing them up with your hands before dropping them in your sauce and breaking them up further with your spoon. Stir in capers and if you'd like, some olives. Bring it all to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer, and then cover it. Let the sauce sit for 10-15 minutes, which should thicken it nicely. Serve traditionally with spaghetti noodles, and enjoy a Purely Italian Puttanesca Sauce!