The History of Taste: Puttanesca, the Salacious Sauce


History of Puttanesca


A vibrant, fragrant, and spicy addition to any pasta, puttanesca is a sauce with a lot of character and a rather salacious past. Like many Italian foods, the ingredients and cooking method for Puttanesca sauce vary between cooks. The difference with puttanesca, though, is that it was intentionally created to be a dish anyone can just “throw together” using whatever available ingredients. The base for puttanesca is tomato sauce, from there cooks may add olives, garlic, capers, hot peppers, and sometimes anchovies.

The tongue-teasing name of puttanesca refers to its origins as a quick meal composed of odds and ends. There are two translations of ‘puttanesca:’ the first roughly translates to “made of garbage.” Instead of throwing away food scrapes, thrifty cooks would combine them with tomato sauce to create puttanesca sauce. The Italian root word puttana is almost a throwaway word itself, used as an all-purpose curse word to identify ‘stuff.’

Another translation of puttanesca is “of, relating to, or characteristic of a prostitute.” According to lore, puttanesca was an ideal dish for the busy working girls of mid-century Naples. Between clients, the women would only have enough time to grab whatever was in their cabinets to cobble together a meal. As an added bonus, the pungent smell of puttanesca would lure in the hungry hearts of Italian men from the streets below.

Looking beyond its unsavory connections, puttanesca has a heart of gold as an egalitarian dish that pairs well with spaghetti and penne. Roselli’s recipe is loaded with several types of fresh olives, onions, capers, anchovies, and spices.

The Origin of Puttanesca


Roselli’s Puttanesca Ingredients

All of Roselli’s products are made from scratch using all natural ingredients, with no additives or preservatives.  Below are fresh ingredients for our puttanesca sauce laid out on the chopping block.

Puttanesca Ingredients-1

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