“Puttana” is the Italian word for prostitute and I love the apocryphal story of how Neapolitan pasta alla puttanesca was named. Most respectable Italian women used to (and some indeed still do) shop for fresh ingredients every day, but not the busy working girls of Naples who worked a 6-and-a-half day week it’s said. They had no time to visit the fresh food markets so had to make do with a quick but tasty pasta sauce made from pantry staples such as canned tomatoes, preserved anchovies, capers and olives. Sugo alla puttanesca is a very versatile sauce, delicious with any dried pasta and typically served with spaghetti or penne (I like the smooth version called ‘penne lisce’). Always use good Italian canned tomatoes, such as Mutti, and enjoy pasta alla puttanesca with a simple savoury red wine like the Mediterrané Sangiovese (Italian soul from Barossa soil). See the video below for everything you need to know to cook pasta like an Italian Nonna.
Serves 6 as a starter
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