posts may contain Amazon affiliate links, which earn me a small commission when you buy (but doesn't cost you anything extra). Occasionally I receive free products and/or run sponsored posts—this will always be stated clearly in the post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

This website contains some quotations, excerpts, and screen clips from copyrighted material. These uses fall well within the copyright doctrine of "Fair Use".
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (with or without Tuna)

So, it's been a long time since I've had a Pasta Puttanesca.  Whore's Pasta.  Working Girl's Pasta.  Slut's Spaghetti.  You've all heard the origins, right?  It's quick and easy and spicy and...worth it.  So, it's fun to to to talk about.  I sat down to chip away at a few of the shows built up on my DVR the other day, and I just happened to watch the episode of Extra Virgin when Gabriele and Debi were planning their respective Bachelor and Bachelorette parties before their vow renewal ceremony is Tuscany. Ahhh, dreamy.  I just love those two.  Well, Gabriele made Spaghetti alla Puttanesca for his party (Debi made Tiramisu).  Of course it started my tastebuds a-tingling.  Then I sat down to flip through some Jamie books and figure out what I could make for "Something Fishy" over at IHCC this week.  Honestly, my cupboards were pretty bare...but I did have everything I needed to make one dish.  Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.  Un Signo.  Jamie suggested using a puttanesca that added tuna.  While fresh tuna wasn't one of the items in my bare cupboard...canned tuna was.  I liked it with canned tuna, but I know I would have adored it with a freshly grilled tuna steak.  Next time.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
(with or without tuna)
inspired by Gabriele Corcos (Extra Virgin)  & Jamie Oliver (Jamie's Dinners)
serves ~4

~12 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
olive oil
4 anchovies
2 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
small handful Kalamata olives, smooshed w/ your thumb a bit
small handful capers, rinsed
crushed red chile flakes, to taste
~ 1# tomatoes, concasse (peel, seed, & small diced) or 1 (14.5 oz) can petite-diced tomatoes, drained
fresh parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
parmesan, optional

Tuna (1 streak per person), fresh grilled/cooked to your liking (best option), but you can use good canned tuna, drained 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente.  In the meantime, Heat a couple glugs of olive oil in a large, slope-sided nonstick skillet.  Add anchovies and let them cook a minute or so until they start to melt into the oil.  Add garlic, olives and capers and sauté for another minute or so and then throw in the red chile flakes and let cook another 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes, turn down the heat a bit and let everything simmer together for ~10 minutes.  When you drain the pasta, set aside about a cup or so of the cooking water, then add the pasta right into the skillet and toss everything around.  Pour in some...or all...of the reserved water and let everything cook together for another 5 minutes or so.  Throw in the parsley and season with freshly ground black pepper.  You shouldn't need salt because the anchovies, capers, and olives probably added enough...but taste and decide for yourself.  Toss everything together and divide amongst plates.  Shave some fresh Parmesan over each dish.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil.

If you are using tuna, season with a bit of salt and pepper, rub with a bit of olive oil, then grill (or sauté, whatever you wish) the tuna steaks to your liking.  Set a whole steak atop or aside each portion...or pull them apart a bit and scatter the pieces over the pasta.  You can use canned.  I tried that- not quite the same, but still decent.  I'd go big or go home on this one.
Our theme at IHCC this week is Something's Fishy.

I am also sharing this post with:
*Kirstin at From Kirstin's Kitchen to Yours who is hosting PPN this week.
prestopastanights seasonal saturday savory sunday weekend eating

Would you like to comment?

  1. Me encanta como te han quedado estos espaguetis, deliciosos que se ven.


  2. My cupboards are pretty bare right now too, but like you have the ingredients for this one..this is one of my favorite .."throw-together-fast-when-there's-nothing-in-the-house-to-eat" dishes...
    Thanks for posting this recipe-it looks fresh and I haven't made it in a long time. (if I use tuna, I generally I use the Italian kind canned in olive oil) yummy...

  3. One of my absolute favourite comfort foods! Also perfect for making the day before shopping day as it is almost all pantry items. Yay!

  4. I've never had this before, but I love all the ingredients (including the anchovies) and it looks gorgeous!

  5. THat's one of the best looking puttanescas I have ever seen! Yum!

  6. It's been far too long since I've had puttanesca also! Although I don't remember putting olives in mine. Shame on me!

  7. You had my attention with this gorgeous photo before I even read the post!

  8. Great click! The pasta looks mouthwatering.

  9. Not an anchovey or olive fan but I'll give you props for the awesome photo! I'd be willing to bet that despite these additions, I would LOVE this! I just don't know if I would have the guts to make it. I'll just come over to your house for it!

  10. I love a good ol' slut's spaghetti (as Nigella calls it). I'm a fan of the Extra Virgin show too. They are a great pair. Looks great!

  11. I'll take some of the whore's pasta please!! lol. How funny. I love the pronounciation:
    Putta nes ca, love it!! looks great. Have a great Sunday and excuse my silliness. Tee hee. Just being me.

  12. Oh I was going to ask you, can I copy that button that says Real Women Eat Good? I'll link it back to you. Let me know.

  13. One of the best pasta sauces ever regardless of its origin. Love that you've made it more healthy with the whole wheat pasta.

  14. Kim...I knew there was one that I loved I was was THAT one! I'm adding it in...thanks =)

    Gloria...I wouldn't have you any other way ;) And yes, of course...all real women are welcome to grab that button (if you click it, you can get a code...or just copy & paste).

  15. Sounds delicious (without tuna, please) I'll be right over.

  16. As the saying goes, fantastico! (With tuna please for me!)

  17. Looks dleicious, i ready to give a try without tuna.

  18. bare cupboards is how this one all began, although I suspect sardines were a more common add than tuna. Beautiful pictures.

  19. Of all the pastas, spaghetti is my fav!! Just had aglio oglio for lunch today & this puttanesca will be on the menu for next week...Looks soooo....good!!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  20. I just don't make enough pasta dishes around here. I don't know why, Marion loves whole wheat pasta since I introduced her to it. (she's 91 and whole wheat ingredients were not as prevalent in her time:)

    I think I'll surprise her with this lovely dish of yours. I'll play it by ear with or without the tuna.

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  21. I love a good Pasta Puttanesca, even though my kiddies and Hubby snicker as soon as I call it that. :P

    I never would have thought to try this recipe without tuna. I'm going to have to leave it out next time I make it.

    Beautiful pics, as always.

  22. @carbonara...yes, I imagine you're right. Tuna is more of a modern spin.

    @Leslie...tee hee

  23. Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is without doubt one of my most favourite dishes. I always have all of the ingredients in my pantry for making this, and although I have often added tinned tuna to it, I have never thought to put a grilled tuna steak on top - sounds divine, and I'll definitely be giving that a try.
    Sue xo

  24. When we made it at Bertucci's (I worked at a Bertucci's... oof) it had chicken. This looks very good with tuna though :)

  25. Looks fabulous, and think I would like it with canned tuna or fresh. My picky family would love it with no tuna!

  26. you had me at slut's spaghetti haha!! i've never had even a version of this, so my curiousity is killing me! this looks amazing!

  27. Yum! So much flavor in this dish! I love the ide aof adding the tuna.

  28. You are so right about this being a great pantry dish. And it happens to be one of my husband's favorites. (What does that say about him that he loves Slut's Spaghetti?) Will have to try Jamie's version.

  29. Such a great pantry meal and perfect comfort food. Fresh or canned the tuna is a great addition. ;-)

  30. One of my favorite pastas! I love it! And this looks pretty original to me! Great stuff!

  31. Thats one of my favourite pasta dishes and I've been meaning to make it for ages and ages. Yours looks great!

  32. Love you're working girl spaghetti and the idea of Canned tuna in it. Although it would be great with a fresh tuna steak like you say, wish my cupboard could hold that instead of the Cannes.;-)