Recipe - Pasta Puttanesca

I first had this dish at Mama D's Italian Kitchen, and I had chosen it because it contained everything I absolutely loved with pasta: garlicky tomato sauce, olives, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and onions. I decided I ought to give it a try since I've always been meaning to make my own sauce anyhow. I learned an interesting thing on this dish though - in Italian, it's named so to mean "whore's style" because it's spicy, hot, and easy. Okay well that's not the only reason; apparently ladies of the night would draw patrons in by placing pots of this dish on their windowsills. How silly.

NOTE: I didn't make the sauce with the traditional usage of anchovies due to not having them but garlic salt worked.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 4-6 servings)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce, 8 oz.
  • 1 container white button mushrooms, sliced (standard size)
  • 1 lb. angel hair pasta
  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • 2 cups marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 3 on-the-vine tomatoes, crushed (with juices)
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced (or more!)

Step 2: Preparing the sauce
In a large pot, start heating water to cook pasta. Cut up your garlic and onion as indicated above and set in a bowl. Crush tomatoes but keep all juices. In a saucepan, heat up and add a generous amount of olive oil. Cook garlic and onion after oil gets hot until onion is slightly translucent. Then add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Lower heat; add garlic salt and thyme. Keep at a simmer. In other pot, cook angel hair.

Step 3: Preparing the tossed ingredients
Slice the mushrooms, olives, and artichoke hearts appropriately (my apologies about the mushrooms as I forgot the size of a standard container). In a large skillet with heated oil, start cooking the mushrooms and olives together. When mushrooms brown, add artichoke hearts and stir for about 3-5 minutes. In the last minute of cooking through, add capers. If pasta is done, drain in a colander and set aside.

Step 4: Finishing
Place pasta in a bowl. Pour sauce over and top with other vegetables. Toss together as desired! Enjoy.

All photographs provided by Duc.