Spaghetti with Puttanesca Sauce
Adapted from The Magic of Tinned Fish by Chris McDade (Artisan Books). Copyright ©️ 2021. Photographs by Dana Gallagher.
Rumored to have been named in the mid-twentieth century for Neapolitan ladies of the night, this pungent and flavorful pasta takes less than 30 minutes to put together, making it a good choice for a weeknight meal. Traditionally, the recipe calls for regular salty “pizza” anchovies, but it works just as well with Provisions White Anchovies, which are mild, meaty, and more like sardines. Save the lemony olive oil from the tin, mix with a quick squeeze of a lemon, and use it to dress a handful of arugula for a quick salad to eat alongside your Puttanesca.
- 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 (4.2 oz.) can Patagonia Provisions White Anchovies (Lemon Olive) or 5 regular anchovy fillets
- 2 tbsp. chopped black olives
- 2 tbsp. capers, chopped
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- ¼ tsp. chile flakes
- ¼ tsp. dried oregano
- Kosher salt
- 6 oz. spaghetti or other pasta of your choice
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Putting It All Together
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta. This can take up to 20 minutes, depending on your stove. Use this time to gather the rest of your ingredients.
- Starting with a cold skillet, gently heat 3 tbsp. of the olive oil along with the garlic over medium heat, taking care to soften the garlic but avoid browning it. Starting things in a cold pan like this allows you to have a bit more control over the doneness of the garlic while infusing maximum flavor into the oil. The idea here is to have soft garlic and fragrant oil. This should take only 1 to 2 minutes. This is when you really start to develop the punchy flavors that puttanesca is known for.
- Add the anchovy fillets to the garlic oil and, using the back of a spoon to gently mash the fillets against the bottom of your pan, cook for 1 minute. No need to be aggressive here as the anchovies will break down on their own as well.
- Add the olives and capers and cook for 1 minute. Again, the goal here is to extract the flavors into the oil and fill your kitchen with the wonderful perfume of the sauce.
- Add the tomatoes, chile flakes and oregano. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring, making sure the tomatoes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan while the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
- Add enough salt to the boiling water so that it reminds you of a less salty sea. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, stirring every 2 minutes or so to keep it from sticking together. Taste a noodle a minute before the end of the suggested cooking time to ensure that your pasta comes out al dente.
- Just before it’s time to remove the pasta from the boiling water, add ⅓ cup of the pasta water to the pan. Adding pasta water is a trick that not only helps to season the finished product but also utilizes the starch shed by the pasta to make the pasta sauce creamier in texture.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the drained cooked pasta to the sauce. Cook, constantly stirring and tossing, until the sauce clings to the noodles and there is about ¼ cup left at the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley, divide the pasta between two bowls and serve.