La Puttanesca

Roman Whore’s Sauce

The overall rough texture and intense flavors of this very rustic sauce are what gives it the famous name. Although delicious and traditional with pasta, this classic sauce is also wonderful served with broiled fish. I have suggested only one clove of garlic, although you can add up to three or more if you prefer. You can also increase the quantities of any of the other ingredients for an intense combination of tastes.


  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 anchovy fillets (either salted or canned in oil, rinsed and dried)
  • 1 small dried red chile, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon rinsed and dried chopped salted capers
  • 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
  • a large pinch of dried oregano
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • a handful of stoned black olives
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic, anchovy fillets, and the dried chile, and cook until the anchovy dissolves.
  2. Add the capers and tomatoes and stir together thoroughly. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the oregano, salt and pepper to taste, wine, and olives.
  3. Stir and let simmer gently for at least 15 minutes. It can be left for a little longer if needed.
  4. Serve over freshly cooked pasta, traditionally spaghetti, tossed together with a little extra olive oil.

To Serve

freshly cooked pasta, such as spaghetti