Pasta Puttanesca has a dark and murky past! It’s said to have origins with Italian “ladies of the night” who used the pungent aroma to lure men into their lair. The story goes on to say they were too busy to shop for fresh ingredients or spend a lot time cooking. The result was a quick dish made exclusively from pantry ingredients.
The classic dish is made with a salty, spicy mix of anchovies, garlic, capers, olives, hot red chiles and tomatoes. In the short amount of time it takes the pasta to boil the sauce can be made.
Since I’m neither a tart nor too busy to shop or cook I expanded the original recipe to include meat. With the addition of hot, crumbled Italian sausage the dish becomes worthy of a ‘main’ dish title that any man would love.
I used tiny, mild-flavored mozzarella balls called bocconcini to add a delicious counterpoint to the bold and sassy flavors of the sauce. They bring a milky creaminess to the party that acts as a cooling agent and gives a brief respite from the dominant spiciness.
If only those “tarts” had slowed down long enough to add a little meat to their sauce – business might have been better! Meat is the ultimate man food and attracts men like bees to honey. Or maybe, just maybe, they were looking for true love. We’ve all heard the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!
Pasta puttanesca with capers, anchovies, tomatoes, hot Italian sausage and bocconcini.
- In a large, deep-sided skillet heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat; add sausage, onion, garlic, anchovies, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Break apart the sausage as it cooks into bite-size pieces.
- When sausage is browned add tomatoes, capers and olives. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Cook linguine according to package directions in plenty of salted water to al dente.
- Mix fresh herbs and bocconcini into sauce and toss immediately with drained spaghetti. Serve with plenty of fresh Parmesan cheese.
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