September 13, 2021
Pasta Puttanesca: Oregano & Black Pepper Essential Oils
The late 80s.
Big hair and big city cafes playing smooth jazz.
Servers zig zagging carrying pasta filled dishes while trying not to slip on tile floors.
During this time, I worked in a trendy, quaint restaurant in downtown Seattle. It was called Poor Italian Cafe and was located on 2nd and Virginia. I tried to find some photos on the internet, but no success. It was in this eatery with high echoing ceilings, patrons shouted across tables while Kenny G. pumped through the speakers. This is also where my love for red wine, rustic bread and authentic Italian cuisine was born.
Working at the Poor Italian, was a dream come true for a small town college girl who was intrigued by the hustle and bustle of big city life. While working, I regularly waited on famous people, local celebrities and newscasters. The energy was invigorating and the tips were phenomenal. It was a good gig for a people loving college student! Sadly, these were the days before phones and selfies, so I have no evidence of my time serving Gloria Estafan, Kathi Goertzen, Aaron Brown, Lou Piniella, and famous models who were regularly in Seattle for Bon Marche shoots, but I still have the memories.
One of the signature dishes of the restaurant was Pasta Puttanesca. I remember when I first started my training and a co-worker mentioned it was also known as “whore pasta.” Yikes! I was flabbergasted! What a naughty name! How could such a flavorful dish have such an unappetizing name?
Well, I had to look it up and learn a little pasta history.
According to Italy Magazine,
“Some say that the name originated in the brothels of the Spanish Quarters (whore is puttana in Italian, hence puttanesca); others claim it was invented in the 1950s in a famous Ischia restaurant one late night when a group of hungry customers asked the owner, who didn’t have many ingredients left, to make “una puttanata qualsiasi,” that is, to throw together whatever ingredients he had, to make something simple.”
This dish is indeed simple! It is made with diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, anchovies, olives, capers, and seasoned with oregano, black pepper, and salt. Because I LOVE incorporating essential oils into my dishes, I used dōTERRA’s OREGANO and BLACK PEPPER ESSENTIAL OILS.
NOTE: With Oregano essential oil, I usually begin with a “toothpick amount” and then increase. It is a VERY STRONG essential oil and it’s better to start light and increase flavor than to have too much.
And, if you’re concerned about cooking with anchovies because they’re fish… don’t worry. You won’t notice them. Along with the capers they add saltiness and so much flavor! I’ve made my Caesar dressing for years with anchovies and not kid nor adult has ever realized!
Since tomatoes are currently in season, I was able to find big juicy tomatoes for ONLY $0.39 per pound! This whole dish only cost a few dollars to put together. Yay for tasty bargain meals! If you purchase whole tomatoes, you’ll need to remove the skins prior to dicing. To remove skins simply, boil a large pot of water. Gently set tomatoes in hot boiling water (this process is known as blanching). Allow water to return to boil. Within a few minutes you’ll see the skins begin to split. Remove from hot water and place in a bowl of ice cold water. The skins will easily slide off the tomatoes.
And, if you’re a prepper and like to plan ahead making freezer meals, you can make this sauce in advance and store in the freezer.
To purchase these two oils retail, simply click HERE.
If you’d like to save 25% and receive wholesale pricing for a year, click HERE. You’ll also receive a welcome kit from me and one-on-one support, if desired.
I’d love to hear how your pasta turns out!
Pasta Puttanesca w/ Oregano & Black Pepper Essential Oils
- Large Saucepan
- Freezer Containers (optional)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 50 g anchovies, finely chopped
- 4 pounds tomatoes, skins removed and diced (See Note) If using canned diced tomatoes use two 28 oz. cans
- 1 cup black olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup capers, drained
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-2 drops black pepper essential oil
- 1 drop oregano essential oil
- 16 oz. pkg. pasta of choice spaghetti, linguine, or penne
- Place olive oil in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely chop anchovies. Add to onion/garlic.
- Add tomatoes, olives, capers, salt, and essential oils.
- Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes until thickened stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile cook pasta as directed on package.
- Serve puttanesca sauce over cooked pasta OR cool sauce (without pasta) then place in freezer containers. Cover and label. Store in freezer.