The renowned spaghetti of working girls is, as you might expect, spicy, salty and bold. It's also quick, cheap and a flavorful dish to whip up when you don't have a lot of fresh ingredients on hand. In fact, one tale of this recipe's namesake is that it was created by a cook who had to throw some scraps together for customers at closing time. They had asked him for una puttanata qualsiasi or "any old bullshit".
There are also many other colorful stories relating this dish to puttana, or ladies of the night, in all kinds of creative ways. We'll probably never know the truth, so you'll just have to make this recipe and decide for yourself.
Start by cooking your spaghetti according to the package's instructions. I highly recommend choosing a traditional bronze die pasta. You see, I was never a big fan of wheat pasta. It just seemed bland and unimportant, like a filler. That was before I tried the bronze die kind, and it changed my feelings about pasta forever.
Hydrate some TVP and fry it up with garlic, fennel seeds and a bunch of Italian herbs. You're making vegetarian sausage! Once it's a little browned, add tomatoes, olives, capers and parsley, then let it simmer for a while.
Finally, toss the spaghetti in with the puttanesca sauce. You're DONE!
1 pound dry spaghetti noodles
1 cup dry TVP crumbles
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dry basil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry sage
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) canned crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped marinated olives
3 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Put the TVP crumbles in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer 5 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed and the TVP is tender.
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds or until fragrant. Add the TVP and sprinkle with soy sauce and lemon juice. Mix in the spices and cook for 10 minutes or until TVP is lightly browned.
- Stir in both cans of tomatoes, olives, capers, salt and pepper. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add parsley and simmer 5 more minutes. Toss with pasta and serve.