Supposedly a sauce invented and made by prostitutes, it is said that pasta puttanesca was designed to lure customers with its aroma. Another explanation was that the prostitutes were too busy to cook much, or that they had no storage for fresh ingredients and cooked entirely from the pantry. My favorite legend has it that it was a favorite not of prostitutes, but of women who wanted to serve a quick meal at home in order to move on to other things. Whatever the origin, I love this fresh dish on a nice, breezy evening.

Ingredients

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 or more cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
  • 6-8 oz of chicken, cut in 1-inch strips
  • 1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 4 oz can black olives, chopped
  • 2 TBSP capers
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • 8 oz angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup preshredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm. Warm 3 TBSP oil with garlic in skillet over medium-high heat. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Add chicken to pan. Cook chicken 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Drain tomatoes and crush with fork or hands. Add to skillet, with some pepper. Stir occasionally, until tomatoes break down and mixture becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in olives, capers and red pepper flakes, and continue to simmer.

Arrange pasta on plates; top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

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