Pasta puttanesca might not be as well known as some other Italian dishes, but it really should be. A little saltiness from anchovies and capers, a little heat from red pepper, fresh tomatoes and meaty tuna.
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Like many families with young children, we have pasta pretty regularly, but we can be creatures of habit. The little ones love pesto, as do we, so we often fall into a rut.
But for the increasing times when I want to get out of it, I tend to look for both flavor and ease (we’re still talking a meal for a busy night, after all). This pasta dish is a great choice as it’s just that little bit different, packed with great flavor, but easy too.
I first came across pasta puttanesca a number of years ago, thanks to a Jamie Oliver program I think. I loved the combination of flavors, and have made it a few times since.
As with many Italian dishes, you don’t use that many ingredients, so it’s worth making sure those you do use are good, which is why Blue Harbor‘s tuna is the perfect choice.
I love that it’s wild, line caught premium albacore tuna and you can taste the difference. Being packaged simply with water with no or only a touch of salt, you get all the great clean flavor. I am also a big fan of the fact Blue Harbor is MSC certified, meaning they comply with sustainable practices and ensure each fish is traceable back to the boat. I like knowing where my food comes from, and that can be hard to come by in some things.
Where does the name pasta puttanesca come from?
It’s maybe a little ironic, though, that I’m using such a pure ingredient for a pasta dish that translate’s as ‘pasta in the style of prostitutes’. I’m not entirely sure why – some stories claim Neapolitan working girls used the arousing smells of this dish cooking to attract clients.
It does smell pretty amazing, though I have my doubts on the story. However it is worth putting aside any worries about the name and simply enjoying this delicious, easy dish.
It’s apparently a relatively recent invention, with a couple variations mainly on whether you use anchovies. Personally I really like them so have included them here. And not all versions use tuna, either, but for me it’s a must to really round out this dish beyond a seasoned tomato sauce. A tasty meal that’s also a great option during Lent.
How it’s made
This is a super easy dish to make, as you simply:
- Sauté some garlic and anchovies in some olive oil.
- Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes.
- Cook it down a little.
- Add the tuna, capers, olives.
- Cook a little more before mixing through pasta.
Traditionally this dish is made with spaghetti, but use whatever you prefer.
See how easy it is to prepare in this short video:
Pasta puttanesca has a little saltiness, a little heat, and a whole lot of delicious flavor. It’s a great way to make simple, good quality ingredients into something special. A meal perfect for both a busy night or a special occasion. Try it and you’ll soon agree.
Like pasta? Try these other pasta meals:
- Scallop pasta with garlic and white wine
- Lemon chicken pasta bake
- Pasta with clams and sausage
- Pasta con sarde a mare (Sicilian pasta with fennel and pine nuts)
- Plus get more inspiration on the main course recipes archives.
- 6 oz pasta 170g (traditionally spaghetti but use as you prefer)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 14 oz chopped tomatoes (1 can, or 1 ¾ cups/375g chopped fresh tomatoes)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tbsp capers drained
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 3 oz Blue Harbor albacore tuna (1 pouch - I suggest no salt added but as you prefer)
- Set your pasta to cook according to the packet instructions. Once cooked al dente drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, warm the oil in a medium skillet/frying pan over a medium heat. Crush the garlic and slice the anchovies. Add both to the pan and cook a couple minutes, stirring, until the anchovies start to melt.
- Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, increase the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally and cook around 10 minutes until tomatoes are soft and slightly thickened.
- Next, add the capers, olives and tuna and mix in well. Add the cooked pasta and toss with tongs so they become well covered in the sauce. Serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Blue Harbor.