There are many stories about how this dish was named, and they all seem to be about the "Ladies of the Evening" in Naples, Italy making this sauce. Some say they made it to tempt customers into their beds. Others suggest it was often cooked by the puttana's ("prostitute" in Italian) because they could not afford meat. The lack of cash may not say much for their talent in the bedroom, but they must have known how to please in the kitchen, because this pasta sauce is divine. It is also a great dish for the RV - you only need an onion and a few cloves of garlic (and maybe a little parsley for garnish) - everything else comes from the pantry! Rinse the olives and capers to reduce the salt - but this is still a fairly salty dish. Manga!
1 pound dried or fresh spaghetti
Good quality olive oil
One medium onion, chopped very fine
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
One tin (2 ounce) anchovies in oil, drained
One can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes (do not drain)
One 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1/2 cup sliced green olives, rinsed
1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives (or other black olive), rinsed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried chilies
1 Tablespoon capers, rinsed
Fresh Italian parsley or basil leaves as a garnish, optional
Put on a pot of water to boil and cook the spaghetti, according to package directions, while you prepare the sauce.
Heat a large flat skillet and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook over a medium-high heat for a few minutes until the onions are soft. Add the anchovies and stir, mashing the fillets with the back of a wooden spoon and continue stirring until the anchovies "melt" into the onions - about one minute. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, green & black olives, basil, oregano and chilies. Stir to combine and let the sauce simmer on a very low heat while the pasta cooks. Just before serving, add the capers.
Toss the sauce with hot spaghetti and garnish with fresh parsley or basil - or both.