How to Make the Best Puttanesca Spaghetti Sauce

Have you ever tried the spaghetti sauce that translates into “whore’s spaghetti”? Italians not only make the best pasta and sauces, but they also give them the best names.

There are two versions of how this spaghetti sauce got its name but if you want to find out, you’re going to have to read “The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipes.” I am busy making the sauce and sharing my tips and tricks for ultimate awesomeness.

The beauty of this spaghetti sauce is its simplicity and speedy preparation, which makes it perfect for lazy and busy people. Here are the ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 smashed cloves garlic 
14 oz. tomatoes (fresh or canned)
2 anchovies (drained and chopped)
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 bunch fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
1 teaspoon of chili (dried and crushed)
1 handful green olives (pitted and sliced)

Note: In case you are wondering why I call puttanesca “spaghetti sauce” instead of “pasta sauce”, it’s because spaghetti is my favorite kind of pasta and the kind I consume almost exclusively.

Let’s proceed with the tips and tricks for perfect puttanesca sauce recipes.

1. Choose the Best Tomatoes for Your Spaghetti Sauce

Puttanesca is a tomato-based sauce, so choosing the best tomatoes is the most important factor for a successful dish.

Fresh, hard tomatoes are not the best choice in this case. Not only are they hard to peel, but they also take longer to cook. In addition, the spaghetti sauce will lack flavor. Try canned tomatoes instead.

If you plan to use canned tomatoes only, choose whole, peeled ones. Go for unflavored options because you’ll add the herbs and spices yourself.

Alternatively, you can combine canned tomatoes with tomato puree or do it European-style, by combining tomatoes with passata. Passata is uncooked tomato puree made of seedless and skinless tomatoes. It is smoother in consistency and produces a thicker sauce with the right amount of flavor.

2. Make Your Spaghetti Sauce Flavorful

- Onion and garlic. When it comes to puttanesca spaghetti sauce, garlic is a must while onion is optional. The amounts vary from two cloves to a clove per person depending on personal preferences.

- Chili. Many recipes also call for chili peppers, usually dried and crumbled for some hotness. If you like the sauce less hot, go with the fresh chili variety.

- Anchovies are a must in every puttanesca spaghetti sauce recipe. There are different kinds of these small, salt-water fish, from vinegary marinated to salted. Again, this depends on your taste, but whatever type you chose, you can be sure that the sauce will obtain a marine flavor.

- Olives are another obligatory ingredient in puttanesca spaghetti sauce. The vegetarian versions of this sauce are often made by leaving out the anchovies and doubling the number of olives (black ones are more commonly used than the green version).

- When it comes to capers, the salted version is preferred to the pickled one.

3. Final Touches for Your Spaghetti Sauce

Experienced chefs swear that puttanesca spaghetti sauce recipes don’t need herbs at all, but if you still insist on using them, the best choice is fresh parsley. Some recipes also make use of basil, whereas oregano is rarely used and very often in combination with parsley or basil.

When it comes to cheese as a topping, grated parmesan is the best choice. However, bear in mind that this spaghetti sauce contains fish, so reconsider the use of Parmesan if you are not a fan of combining these two ingredients. Also, salted anchovies, olives, and capers make this sauce quite savory and cheese can push it overboard (taste before adding).

Drizzle with some lemon juice and enjoy!