Pasta Puttanesca roughly translates as "pasta in the style of a whore" -- no doubt an enterprising whore who's a little salty, a little spicy, and has plenty of bite to her. You may be wondering how this dish got its colorful name. Legend has it "ladies of the night" would lure customers into houses of ill repute with the enticing aroma of this sauce simmering away. Alternately, they would make this for themselves because it was a quick and easy meal that wouldn’t take much time away from their biznaz.
Quick, easy, cheap, delicious…qualities any busy working girl/harlot could appreciate. Pasta Puttanesca makes a great spur-of-the-moment meal because it can be thrown together using ingredients in your pantry.
The dish is full of salt and brine -- olives, capers, anchovies -- flavors typical of Southern Italian cuisine. Canned Italian tuna soaked in olive oil plays well off of the anchovies and tomato sauce, and adds protein and body to the meal.