Linguine alla Puttanesca {recipe}

This entry is part 5 of 31 in the series My Italian Kitchen


A simple variation on yesterday’s recipe is Linguine alla Puttanesca. This recipe can also go by alla Provenzale, alla Martinique, or alla Bonne Femme. I think it’s time for a little Italian language lesson. The kind everyone wants to know first.  Let’s break down what “alla Puttanesca” means. “Alla” is not reffering to the Islamic deity. It is actually a contraction of “at the” which can be translated “in the style of” in English. So this is linguini “in the style of” puttana. And what is a puttana? you ask? This is where it gets a little…ahem…uncomfortable. It’s a whore. Yep. This is linguini in the whore’s style. Actually, if you look at the last name for this dish “alla bonne femme” that’s basically French for the same thing. A “good woman” is anything but. Okay. Enough language lessons for today. Let’s get on with the recipe.

Linguine alla Puttanesca


  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (or squeezed through a garlic press)
  • 1-2 tbsp capers (preferably in brine rather than vinegar)
  • ¼ cup black olives (kalamata or nicoise, but NOT the waxy canned ones), pitted
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 large can petite diced tomatoes, or 2 lbs fresh Roma tomatoes
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. puttanesca-1Add garlic and red pepper (if using). Sauté for 2 minutes. making puttanesca step 2 Add capers and black olives. Sauté for 1 minute.making puttanesca step 3

Add diced tomatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes. making puttanesca step 4Sprinkle parsley over sauce at the end of the cooking product puttanesca


Tip: When you start to heat the oil in the frying pan you can go ahead and put your pasta pan on. By the time the pasta is done cooking, the sauce will be finished. This is one of those easy recipes that you can prepare in a jiffy if you keep all the ingredients on hand. That’s why I recommend keeping a stocked pantry!

Side note: Do you know what capers are? They are the flower bud to the caper plant which often grown on rocky cliffs and walls.caper plantSee the little flower buds?caper bud

Yep. That’s what it is! I buy them in Italy “under salt,” but they are available here in little jars. Try to get them in brine rather than vinegar.capers

This is another easy, quick recipe that you can make at any time if you keep the ingredients on hand. Give it a try and see what you think!puttanesca

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About Sheila @ Making the Most of Every Day

I'm a wife, mom, and a homeschool teacher. I'm always behind on housework and paper pile sorting. I'm fond of this crazy life but not of melted cheese. I want to follow hard after God, making each day really count. I like to run, read, cook (and eat!). Thanks for joining along on my journey!

10 thoughts on “Linguine alla Puttanesca {recipe}

  1. Yay! Love this dish. You are the authentic one…I mess it up Laurita style by adding in some brine and red wine. 😉 thanks for sharing!!! Love how you can your own tomatoes. I need to learn that art.

  2. Sounds delicious! I think I need to stock my pantry better.

    So on the “interesting name”… do you actually think about what it means when you say it in Italian? Or is it one of those things that that’s just the name of it and you don’t even think about it?

  3. Commented but then it disappeared. Might be repeating myself here…But while they are creating a garlic candle can we order one in “sauteed onions and green peppers”? Mmmm. Never have cooked with capers but here’s my opportunity to try them. I appreciate a well-stocked pantry and panic when I run out of something or when someone eats the _____ (fill in the blank) that I was going to use in preparing _______. No bueno. Glad to know you are safe.

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