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Photo by Mallory Dash This bold and briny sauce goes on everything from pasta to grilled tuna.
This week, we're covering an Italian classic: puttanesca sauce.
Said to have originated in Naples (likely in the mid 20th century), sugo alla puttanesca is a tomato-based sauce made with anchovies, black olives, capers, onions, and garlic in addition to tomatoes and herbs. The word is derived from the term puttana, the Italian word for "whore." So spaghetti alla puttanesca roughly translates to "spaghetti of the whore" or "whore's spaghetti." Nice.
There are plenty of entertaining folk tales about how and why the sauce was named, some saying Italian harlots would use the sauce's intense aroma to lure men from the streets; while others say married women would throw the leftover sauce out of their windows and onto the street walkers passing by, all while yelling "puttana!" Each story is more entertaining than the next.
However it originated, the bold, briny sauce has become a fiery Italian staple, as it can be used for pastas or as a flavorful topping for seafood, poultry and meat.