This straightforward puttanesca preparation is one of the best we've tasted to date. The puttanesca sauce makes for a luscious, moist, and perfectly seasoned pasta dish. Poopie, my father-in-law, has tested several puttanesca recipes and likes this one the best thus far. It's nice and salty, just the way we like it. ;)

This is the perfect way to make something new out of reserved marinara sauce.

Adapted from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food.
 olive oil 1/3 cup
 garlic6 cloves
 chili flake 1/4 tsp
or more to taste
 marinara sauce1 cup
 capers3 tbsp
rinsed, drained, and chopped
 black olives 1/4 cup
pitted, chopped
 italian parsley 1/4 cup
 anchovies3 whole
 spaghetti1 lb
cooked with 1/2 cup pasta water reserved


heavy saucepan
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta when the water is hot. Set the timer.
Warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic.
When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the red pepper flake and coat in oil. Then add the marinara sauce, capers, black olives, and parsley. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Then add the anchovies. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Season sauce with additional salt if needed.
Drain pasta and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Combine the pasta with the sauce. Add just enough pasta water to achieve a moist consistency.

We have often forget to reserve the pasta water. It's really sad when this happens because the pasta ends up tasting dry. The pasta water really helps gel the pasta with its filling.

To make sure that we don't forget, I've implemented a tip from Cook's Illustrated that I've combined with how we currently drain pasta. Because we don't want any cross contamination between the bottom of the sink and our pasta, we usually set the colander over a clean, overturned bowl. Then we just balance the colander over a mug. When we drain the pasta, we have all the pasta water we need to finish the dish.


Alice Waters via Roberto Oguro