I think even the Italians will not all agree on the origin of puttanesca, but most will agree that it originated in Naples in the mid-20th century. “Puttana” which translates to “prostitute” led to the theory that the sauce was invented in one of the many “bordellos” in Naples. The twist, which I add to this dish, is the use of guanciale instead of olive oil.

You will need the following for this:

The ingredients for the puttanesca


  • 60g guanciale, cut into small cubes (or you can use a dash of olive oil)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced (some recipes keep the cloves whole and remove them before dishing up)
  • 10 anchovies fillets, minced (you can use less if you are not into anchovies)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes (+/- 480g)
  • 60g kalamata olives, chopped (and some extra for garnish)
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 2 sprigs of basil, chopped (keep some leaves for garnish)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • Pinch of sugar


If you are using guanciale, heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Fry the guanciale, until most of the fat is released and the guanciale turns brown. Otherwise just heat up a dash of olive oil.

Frying the guanciale, garlic and chili

Add the garlic and chili and cook over medium heat until the garlic turns golden brown.

Add the tomato paste, stir for 1 minute and then add the chopped tomatoes.

Add the sugar, basil, olives, capers and anchovies. Stir and season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Be careful with the salt seasoning, as the anchovies will release a lot of salt.

Add the rest of the ingredients

Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer until it thickens. Stir occasionally.

Wait till the sauce thickens

Serve over spaghetti or tagliatelle and garnish with olives and basil.

I got the original recipe from here.

We enjoyed this with a bottle of Windmeul Reserve Cape Blend 2018.

The perfect meal

Tasting Notes

Classic Cabernet earthy influence noticeable on Pinotage-dominated blend. Densely packed, concentrated ripe black fruit all held together by impressive structure, bright acidity and masculine tannins. 

Winemaker’s Notes

One of the flagships and specialities from our property, growing on bush vines on the farm. The nose offers coconut, bramble, blueberry compote and dark-roast coffee. Full intensity and body mellowed by time in both barrel and bottle. Creamy texture with a smoky finish.