Shrimp Puttanesca - Mongers' Provisions

Shrimp Puttanesca

This quick pasta is a weeknight favorite. It is immensely flavorful but still easy to whip up in under an hour. Despite the controversial origins of this dish's name (puttanesca is certainly referential of the Italian word for prostitute but there is significant debate about in what context the name is applied to this recipe), it is wholesome to the core!



  1. Boil salted water and cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Run pasta under cold water to stop the cooking.
  2. Season shrimp with the salt and half of the black pepper. Heat olive oil over medium high heat and cook the shrimp until slightly browned and cooked through. 2-3 minutes. Take out of pan and set aside.
  3.  Heat remaining olive oil over medium high heat and sauté onions until slightly browned.
  4. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, capers and anchovies (if you want to mince the anchovies you can, but they will literally melt into the sauce as you cook it) and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. But be careful not to burn the garlic!
  5. Add the olives and sauté for another minute then deglaze with your chosen liquid.  When choosing a wine to cook with, remember that when you cook with it the flavor of the wine will be accentuated and it’s important to choose a wine that you like.  The wine we chose is very light in flavor and very pleasant to have with the meal and within the meal.
  6. Add the can of tomatoes when liquid has reduced slightly and stir all together.  Add remaining black pepper and let cook for about 5-8 minutes so the sauce has time to marry all the flavors together. 
  7. After this time, taste the sauce and see if it needs the sugar and any additional seasoning.  Be careful with adding salt if you will be adding Parmigiano because it will add a delightful salty kick of its own. 
  8. Add your Al dente pasta to the sauce and mix.  I let the pasta cook just a little bit longer in the sauce to really let the flavors disperse throughout the dish.  Add the pasta water if you need to thin the sauce a little. 
  9. Toss the fresh parsley into the pasta and plate.  Top with your parm and let your heart measure!