Red Pepper Penne with Cherry Tomato Puttanesca

Puttanesca sauce, or "streetwalkers' sauce," is a favorite in our house, but the women that made this sauce famous (or infamous) probably[ didn't have to walk too many streets to lure in their customers. They simply put the ingredients for this sauce in clay pots and let the sauce bake in the windows of their houses all day before tossing the tomato and anchovies with pasta. No one knows if the men came in for the ladies or the sauce--my bet is they had hopes of getting truly lucky and enjoying both. Regardless of its history, you do feel naughty when you eat this spicy, salty, wildly delicious concoction.]

Total Time:
40 min
10 min
30 min

4 to 6 servings

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 to 12 good-quality anchovy fillets
  • 6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 2 small fresh red finger chiles, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured pitted black olives
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Chicken stock, as needed
  • 1 pound bucatini or red pepper penne
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley tops, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil (4 turns of the pan) over medium heat. Add the anchovies, cover the pan with a splatter screen or lid, and shake until the anchovies begin to break up. Reduce the heat a bit, uncover, and stir until the anchovies melt into the oil. Add the garlic and chiles and stir for 2 minutes. Add the vermouth.

  • Add the cherry tomatoes to the skillet, then add the olives and capers. Add the basil and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes to break down the tomatoes. Add chicken stock if liquid gets too low.

  • To serve, cook 1 pound pasta to al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Toss together the sauce, starchy water, parsley, Parmesan and pasta.

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