Men's Journal

Perfect Puttanesca: The Italian Pasta Recipe You Need Right Now

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The infamous theory behind the origins of pasta puttanesca ("pasta of the whores") is that the mid-20th century prostitutes of Naples used it to lure men — through its pungent and enticing aroma — into their brothels, a la dogs in cartoons hypnotized by the scent of juicy steaks. This Italiophile doesn’t buy it. Too, well, cartoonish, even for pasta and women-loving Italian men. My theory has the particulars of this dish attributed figuratively to brothel-bound prostitutes since it lacks fresh ingredients (minus the optional herbs), meaning that it can be whipped up without having to do all the careful shopping and preparing any decent woman of Italy would regularly do to feed her beloved family.

Regardless, the simplicity and pantry-accessible nature of this dish can’t be denied. Neither can its vibrancy, making it a perfect, quick, and satisfying pasta for a cold winter’s night.

Ingredients (serves four):