ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pasta Puttanesca - Pasta Putanesca with Crispy Pork Chops

Updated on November 21, 2011
Artist Jonathan Harris
Artist Jonathan Harris

I first heard of Pasta Putanesca when I read the Lemony Snicket books to my children - this is the dish the kids in the story came up with by emptying out the drawers and cupboards, and they called it "pasta with very few ingredients". That cracked me up and I invented my own version.

Then I learned the real story behind this incredibly simple Italian classic. Italian Ladies of the Evening would make pots of this sauce and place it in the window, where the aroma would attract customers. Daggone. Granted I've never tried that particular application, but I do know how hot apple pie in my kitchen brings in my brothers, friends and favorite neighbor, and how much yard work they'll do for it. What the hey - thought I'd see what Putanesca would do. This particular pot got me two loads of firewood, some plumbing work and an oil change, and nobody even had to get naked. So you can emulate what the Ladies' accomplished, without nearly as much work as they had to do.

I also wanted to take the basic pasta and turn it into a main dish. The pork is a terrific accompaniment to the punch of flavors in the sauce. This sauce's signature is the intense flavors - salty, briny, citrusy. Many versions use olives or artichokes. Throw them in if you like. Now don't wimp out and skip the anchovy - don't be a wuss. It melts into the sauce and gives an 'mmmmm' that is not the least bit fishy but can't be replicated with another ingredient. This comes together very quickly - throw on some sauteed asparagus or broccolini, some crusty french bread and you're a Batterie Bombshell. With clothes on.

The one big trick here is to assemble all your ingredients before you start to cook - it's called mise en place. Basically it's French for 'getting your act together." If you do this the whole recipe falls together like clockwork.

Part 1

Part 2

Putanesca Sauce

  • 3 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 1 anchovy filet
  • 3 Tbsp capers, drained but not rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme, or a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • several cranks of fresh black pepper
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp julienned fresh basil (or more is good!)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until fragrant, then add tomatoes, anchovy, capers, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and allow to reduce and the flavors to marry while you prepare the pork and pasta. Sauce will reduce some, and release the juices - that's exactly what you want.

2. Right before serving toss in the lemon juice and parsley - don't add the herbs early or they'll wilt and get icky and brown. Not lovely. Put it in the last minute.

1 Pound of Pasta - spaghetti, linguine - anything you have on hand, cooked, drained and held ready*

Pork Cutlets

  • 8 boneless pork loin chops
  • 2 cups Panko break crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil

1. Trim each loin chop, cutting into 2-3 pieces to create small cutlets about 2 inches in diameter. Place trimmed pork pieces between two layers of plastic wrap and pound with a wooden mallet until about 1/4 inch thick. Season each side with SOS.

2. Set up a breading station. I use pie plates. In one plate break eggs and add a couple tablespoons of water. Season liberally with 1/2 tablespoon each salt and pepper. In second pie plate put Panko bread crumbs, and season this as well with the remaining salt and pepper.

3. In a large skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Watch getting the pan too hot so the breading doesn't burn. Working in batches so you don't crowd your pan (too much in the pan will crowd the pork and it will steam instead of getting brown and crunchy), dip each pork cutlet into egg mixture, then bread crumbs, then into the hot pan. Cook each cutlet for about two minutes per side, until pretty and golden. Transfer to a warm platter - I just put a platter in the oven on the lowest setting. Repeat until they're all beautiful.

To plate - put a mound of pasta in the center of the plate and top with the Putanesca sauce. Add a couple of the the pork cutlets, and sprinkle the top with the fresh basil.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)