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We ahve to start from the Italian name "Spaghetti alla puttanesca" that sounds in Italian something like this: "spaghetti the whore’s way”, though idioms usually cannot be translated literally into another language. This is simply a classic Italian dish surrounded by a few muffled legends. The most reliable one says that the name was originated in Naples from such "night ladies" around the 50s...

Now why the hell would a recipe take such a vulgar name? Back at that time brothels were open in Italy and it seems that usually the prostitutes used to serve the dish to their best clients.

Not minding about all the legends this recipe is more simple to be done than said. I even thought to Americanize it by adding heavy cream to the list of ingredients.

Spaghetti Puttanesca Recipe

This is the Italian-American pleasure because the authentic Puttanesca doesn't call for the same ingredients. But it took the Italian way as well, supported by the Sardinian Cannonau red wine.


Italian-Americanized Spaghetti Alla Puttanasca

  • Preparation Time: 10 mins
  • Cooking Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins

Ingredients : 4 servings

  • 1 lb. (450gr) of spaghetti
  • 14 oz. (400gr) can mashed or peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup (225ml) of heavy cream
  • 4 anchovy fillets in oil or salted
  • 2 oz. (60 gr) black stoned olives
  • 2 or 3 tbsp (30-45ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ oz. (15g) of salted capers
  • 2 tbsp (30gr) parsley finely chopped
  • 1 small red chill or chilly flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca
  1. Set the pot with water for spaghetti to cook. Bring to a boil the once boiling add some salt up to your taste. Throw the spaghetti inside the pot and stir. Spaghetti will be cooked "al dente"  (to the bite) usually in about 7 minutes.
  2. In a large frying pan add the extra-virgin olive oil, then first add the minced garlic, then the chopped anchovy, then the chill or chilly flakes, olives and capers. Cook for a couple of minutes, then pour in the tomato puree and keep cooking for about 10 minutes more.
  3. Add a part of minced parsley and pour the heavy cream in the sauce you have just made. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes over low heat for then the sauce is ready.
  4. Serve and sprinkle with the remaining parsley as you like.
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Step-by step recipe...

Cannonau, this red wine is known to make you live a hundred years. It isn’t a legend, it's a ritual that has a scientific basis. The pioneer of Sardinian wine Antonio Argiolas had a secret for longevity: a glass of red Cannonau at every meal. It could have looked more like pure mania, but he died in 2009 at the happy age of 103 years old.

Spaghetti Puttanesca

If I have to describe the taste of this Puttanesca Americanized version with heavy cream is, I would say that “awesome” is just a word used almost for everything. “Whoo” as a term of excitement is not enough, and “good” is too obvious to say how nice these spaghetti puttanesca are.

So, I leave it up to you, when you are going to make these spaghetti, and maybe send me your feedback to fill my description gap here on this page.

Ingredients: 4 servings


1) I usually cut the olives in thin rings and finely mince the parsley and garlic on a cutting board. I keep the capers whole and just chop the anchovy fillets.

Cutting Board

2) In a frying pan with the olive oil add first the minced garlic, then chopped anchovy, the chili flakes, olives and capers as you see below.

3) Cook for a couple of minutes and then pour in the tomato puree and keep cooking for about 10 minutes more over low heat.

Tomato Sauce

4) Add a part of the minced parsley to the pan and keep some to sprinkle over for garnish at the end to give an extra boost of freshness to the plate.

Puttanesca Pasta Sauce

5) Now it's time to pour the heavy cream so the sauce will be more smooth and delicate to taste. Here is  where the Americanism cooking comes in to take the role.

Nope, you'll never see and get this with an authentic spaghetti alla puttanesca, no matter how much hard you search for it. It's just a taste that doesn't belong to Italy.

Heavy Cream

6) I usually then set the water for spaghetti and bring it to a rolling boil. This while I’m preparing the “puttanesca” pasta sauce.

Pasta Pot

7) Once the water is boiling, add some salt and throw the spaghetti inside the pasta pot. Sometimes stir and then cook until "al dente" (to the bite).


8) Stir the spaghetti sauce and cook for another 2 minutes over low heat and until the sauce thickens a little. Give it a taste and check if you need to add more salt up to your taste.

Puttanesca Sauce

Serve with the last sprinkle of the remaining parsley that you have previously kept aside. If you like at this point you can add some Parmesan cheese as well.

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

Finally, it really came out extraordinary with the addition of the American heavy cream. Without  hesitation I will surely make it again, and next time for my guests as well.

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