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Pasta a la Puttanesca ~ Traditional Old World Recipe

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Pasta a la Puttanesca is a really simple, tangy, spicy, and savory dish. It’s perfect for those cold chilly nights, but also light enough to eat during the Summer. It’s very versatile and many of the ingredients can be substituted for other ingredients. You will see many different kinds of Pasta a la Puttanesca recipes. This one is from the Puglia Region of Italy.

This traditional dish started as a “poor man’s” dish. It was the typical, “throw everything you have in the pan” kind of meal. Over the years, the wives and daughters have perfected and changed the recipe so much, that it’s never the same in any one region. It has actually been known to change from town to town.




  • ¼ cup sliced pimento olives (You can substitute with Kalamata olives)
  • ¼lb pancetta or prosciutto – chopped
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic – chopped
  • ½ cup parsley – chopped
  • 1 Jar of Anchovies in olive oil (Drain and Reserve the olive oil)
  • 4 Fresh Roma (plum) Tomatoes
  • 1lb of your favorite pasta



  1. Begin cooking your pasta. By the time you’re draining it, your sauce will be ready.
  2. In a large skillet add the anchovies olive oil about 2-3 tablespoons
  3. Once the oil is heated add the prosciutto or pancetta
  4. When the prosciutto has lost its color some add the anchovies, onions, garlic, hald of your parsley and tomatoes.
  5. Saute stirring frequently, When the tomatoes have bursted, add your olives.(About 10 minutes)
  6. Give it a quick stir, turn off the heat and let all the flavors marry. (About 5 minutes)
  7. Once your pasta has drained, toss it with the Putanesca sauce and add some of your extra parsley for color, and serve!


You can add some Pecorino Romano cheese on top.

You ca also toss the pasta with some extra olive oil, if you aren’t going to serve it right away. That will keep the pasta from becoming a big clump of gluten!

Enjoy and Buon Appetito!

Head on over to Adventures of the Mommy Homemaker, for more recipes!

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