Puttanesca: The Lady of The Night

Written by Selene Candace

Made by combining anchovies, capers, olives, and optional ingredients like garlic, red pepper flakes, chile peppers, and tomatoes into a truly tasty gravy.

“According to Luca Cesari, writer and author of The History of Pasta in Ten Dishes, the recipe’s origins are murky”, dating back beyond the 50s. 

There is debate, first, about the location of the original dish; Rome or Naples. Second, the story. Some say a brothel owner in Rome, others in Naples. Others, that the colour of the sauce represents the colours of the underwear worn by the women of these brothers. Issues with these theories though, are that Italy banned brothels during that time. Another theory is that sex worker, Yvette la Francese, named it after her trade. 

The most recent theory is dated 2005, to a local painter named Eduardo Colucci, who would generously cook the delicious meal for friends and family on the island of Ischia. Claims from a newspaper article state that the dish was actually invented by Colucci’s nephew in the 50’s during a rushed dinner gathering “by throwing together some “random shit” – or “una puttanata”, as you’d say in Italian, a common expression that literally translates to “a whore’s thing or action”.

And so the name was changed. But the question still remains; why was this pasta dish named “slut” in the first place?

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Candace Selene