Penne alla Puttanesca

"Big on flavor and short on time" is how Tony Mantuano describes this wonderfully easy Southern Italian pasta dish. Featuring anchovies, capers, and garlic sautéed together and tossed with black Taggiasca olives and San Marzano tomatoes, the sauce comes together in less time than it takes to cook the pasta itself, and is ideal for an easy weeknight meal.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 15 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

1 pound penne pasta, bronze cut (Afeltra brand)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 whole salt-packed anchovies

3 tablespoons salted capers

1 cup Taggiasca or other black olives

1 garlic clove, smashed, peeled, and chopped

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 cups canned peeled tomatoes (San Marzano preferred)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta and the sauce: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir, and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes less than what the box advises. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by heating oil in a skillet over low heat. Rinse the anchovies and the capers under cold water to remove the salt, then soak in a small bowl of water for several minutes. Remove the pits from the olives by quickly smashing them with the side of a knife, then fillet the anchovies by removing the backbone (the longer they’re soaked, the easier this will be). Add the anchovies, capers, garlic, olives, and parsley to the skillet, and cook until the anchovies are broken up and the garlic is lightly browned. Using a fork or your hands, break up the tomatoes in a mixing bowl and add to the skillet. Simmer sauce for 1–2 minutes, then check for seasoning (sauce will be naturally salty) and adjust with pepper.
  2. Assemble the dish: Perform the pasta “marriage ceremony” by reserving 1 cup of the pasta water and draining the rest. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the pasta water and puttanesca sauce into the pot. Cook over low heat, gently tossing the pasta with the sauce for 2 minutes to allow it to marry with the sauce. The pasta should still be firm to the bite. Transfer to a platter or bowl, garnish with more chopped parsley, and serve.