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Pasta Puttanesca

This is my go-to meal when there's not much in the house to eat. Pasta puttanesca ("whore's pasta") was allegedly invented by Italian prostitutes who could throw it together quickly if they had a few spare minutes. I always seem to have the ingredients in my pantry.

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tin anchovies in olive oil, drained

3-5 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Pinch of salt

20 oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved

3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

1 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

A few grinds of black pepper

1 pound dried spaghetti

1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

In a large skillet (big enough to hold the pasta later) combine oil, anchovies, garlic, red peppers and salt. Stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium heat until garlic colors but doesn't burn, 1 to 2 minutes. Add olives, capers, tomatoes and black pepper. Stir to blend, bring near a boil and simmer, uncovered, until sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes.

While sauce is cooking, bring large pot of water to a boil. Salt and add spaghetti, stirring occasionally so pasta doesn't stick. Cook until tender but firm to the bite (al dente). Drain.

Mix the pasta with the sauce in the skillet, add parsley and toss. Cover and remove from heat for a minute or 2. Transfer to soup bowls and serve immediately.

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