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with Michele Round
Sugo alla puttanesca is a relatively modern
Italian sauce, known only since the late 1950s.
There are several theories as to how it got its
rather racy name.
According to Wikipedia (and this is an
explanation I'd not come across before), Italian
newspaper journalist Annarita Cuomo claims that it
was invented by Sandro Petti, owner of a famous
Ischian night club and restaurant. Late one night
Petti was obliged to feed a group of hungry friends
although, as he told them, he didn't have enough
food to make a proper meal. "Facci una puttanata
qualsiasi"(make any kind of garbage), they insisted.
Puttanata here means garbage but you can
appreciate the rather crass word association with
puttana (whore). Later,Petti included the dish on his
menu as spaghetti alla puttanesca.
Others claim that the name originates from a
time when brothels were state-run. Respectable
Italian housewives shopped daily at the market for
fresh food. Being state employees whose time was
valuable, brothel workers were only allowed a day
per week for shopping; thus relying on the larder for
most meals. The sauce was also, like a good whore,
hot, spicy and easy and could be whipped up
quickly between customers.
This version,however, would require the good ladies
of the night to visit the market for fresh ingredients and
is not fashioned from just"any old rubbish"
Linguine alla puttanesca
300g linguine, cooked according to instructions
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, chopped (include seeds if you
like a bit of extra kick)
6 anchovy fillets, drained
250g cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp capers (if salted, wash well first)
200g olives, pitted and cut in half if large
salt and pepper
large handful basil leaves
shavings of parmesan or grana
Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan. Saute the
garlic, onion, chilli and anchovies for two minutes.
Add the olives, capers and whole cherry tomatoes
and sauté until the tomatoes have collapsed.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the well
drained linguine to the fry pan along with the basil
leaves.Toss very well and heat through.
Add parmesan shavings to each serving.
with racy name
in the bay
Take the alternative
route to Moreton
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