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Pasta Putanesca (Anchovy Sauce)
serves 6


  • 1 can anchovies, with oil (I recommend an additional can if more than 4 people)
  • 4-5 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (San Marzano are best)
  • 3 TB tomato paste
  • hot pepper seeds, as desired
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup fresh basil minced or ½ cup dried basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti


Saute' anchovies in Piconi olive oil (or may substitute other EVOO) until they disintegrate then add hot pepper seeds to desired spiciness. (Traditionally this dish is rather spicy.) Add celery and cook 2-3 minutes then add garlic and saute' only 1-2 minutes to avoid burning. Add whole tomatoes then the tomato paste and simmer for 35-40 minutes until sauce is thickened. Pour over prepared spaghetti and serve immediately.

Spaghetti should be cooked as directed but not overcooked, as soft pasta loses its flavor. Preferred texture of the pasta is a firmness called al dente , which means "to the tooth."

John's tip: I enjoy serving this dish without telling the guests the main ingredient (anchovies), since many people have an aversion to them. It is my experience that most people love the flavor and richness and are clamoring to know the ingredients.

Buon Appetito!

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