The history behind the name of this pasta is quite interesting. As the story goes the dish Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca (“spaghetti in the style of a prostitute” in Italian”.) originated in the mid-twenty century in the seaport of Naples. The prostitutes of the city would make this dish and place on their window sill, where the aromatic scent lured sailors for their services. Whether that is true or not there is no denying this flavorful sauce has over the years attracted many devotees. My sauce is a no-cook version with the original is a simmered sauce served with pasta. I love making this easy recipe in the summer and serve with a crisp salad, fresh Italian bread, and dry white wine.
No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce with Spaghetti
2 beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 lb.), halved crosswise, seeds removed
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
1½ cups cherry tomatoes halved
1 cup Kalamata or Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
2 Tbsp. drained capers
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
12 oz. spaghetti
¼ cup finely chopped basil
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Pulse beefsteak tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovy fillets, and 2 tsp. salt in a food processor until smooth; transfer sauce to a large bowl and mix in cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, and ¼ cup oil.
Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta, parsley, and butter to the sauce. Toss vigorously with tongs, adding a splash of pasta cooking liquid or more as needed to create an emulsified sauce that coats the pasta. Divide among bowls and drizzle with more oil.