Pasta Puttanesca from A Series of Unfortunate Events

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you had a great weekend c: Ours was pretty quiet and uneventful, as the bf has been working and I took advantage of that time to work on some of my own projects.
During weekends like this, we often order takeout or eat something that is really easy to prepare (like over pizza or pre-made salade) on Sundays, but since we ordered takeout on Saturday, we thought we should cook something instead. Trying to be a little healthy, ya know! ;p

Like most days, it felt like a pasta day to me (I love my carbs!). Since we already had a fishy and a cheesy pasta dish earlier this week, I wanted to try something new. Then I remembered that, after seeing Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, I had jotted down Pasta Puttanesca in my blog notebook to try out for Fiction Kitchen. Two birds in one stone! Originally I had planned to make Uncle Monty’s Coconut Cream cake first, but since we already made a sweet recipe in the last Fiction Kitchen, a savory one might be a good change!

As a little research I looked up the recipe for Pasta Puttanesca from the (audio)book and the series:

“Listen to this,” he [Klaus] said. “Puttanesca. It’s an Italian sauce for pasta. All we need to do is sauté olives, kapers, anchovies, garlic, chopped parsley and tomatoes together in a pot and prepare spaghetti to go with it”.
“That sounds easy,” Violet agreed… ”

– Chapter 3 of the first book ‘The Bad Beginning’


Violet: I think I found something. Pasta Puttanesca.
Klaus: I wonder what that means in Italian.
Violet: All we have to do is sauté garlics and onions in a pot, and then add olives, kapers, anchovies, diced Parsley and tomatoes to simmer.

– Episode 1 ‘The Bad Beginning: Part one’ of the Netflix series

It’s interesting to see that not only does the recipe from the series slightly differ from the one in the book by the addition of unions, but also in the series it’s Violet who comes up with the recipe, whereas in the book it’s Klaus.
Oh and errr Pasta Puttanesca literally means ‘pasta in the style of a prostitute’ by the way. Interesting name haha!

Since most of the recipes that I found didn’t contain onion and I think I prefer the recipe without it as well, I chose to omit the onions and thus go with the recipe from the book. For some more inspiration on how to prepare it, we used the recipes of Frankie’s World and Gennaro Cantaldo.

Frankie’s World is an awesome cooking show on Taste Made that is SO funny and very informative. You should definitely check it out! In the Pasta Puttanesca video he has some hilarious sketches about the origin of the dish.
Gennaro is our absolute favorite YouTube chef! He used to be Jamie Oliver’s mentor and still works with him a lot, for example on Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube (also a very fun channel to watch!). Gennaro is such an energetic, funny and charming man! I wish I could adopt him as my grandfather c: His famous quote “Why I cooking so good?!” is often cited in our kitchen, haha!
Being Italian, we trust the authenticity of his recipes, so every single Italian recipe we find we compare to his. And if Gennaro hasn’t made a video or recipe for it, we run it by Atonio Carlucci, another very charming elderly Italian chef with whom Gennaro works.

A fun little tidbit: Gennaro has a little bit of an Italian accent (love it!) that YouTube’s automatic caption function doesn’t always understand. This leads to hysterical captions, like when he was saying something along the lines of “Look at this mozzarella. So lovely and fresh!”. The captions instead read this. Like HOW? Cracks me up every time! :’D But I totally digress. Let’s get cooking! C:


What we need

For 2 people:

  • 250 grams of Spaghetti
  • Olive oil
  • 3 peeled and finely sliced cloves of garlic
  • 3 anchovies fillets
  • 1\2 a tin of tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp of capers (rinse them off if you bought them in salt)
  • a pinch of chili flakes
  • a small handful of sliced and pitted black olives
  • a big handful of halved cherry tomatoes (I used 8 whole tomatoes)
  • some finely chopped Parsley to garnish

Optional: Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano


How to prepare

– Bring a pan of water with a little bit of salt to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente.

– Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a generous amount of olive oil and add the anchovies. Stir until the anchovies start to come apart and then add the sliced garlic, the tomato puree, the chili flakes, the capers and the black olive slices. Bake until the garlic is slightly golden.

– Add the cherry tomatoes and a little bit of the pasta water. Cover the pan with a lid until the tomatoes have cooked down a little.

– Drain the pasta (reserve a little of the pasta water), add it to the sauce and mix everything well. If the sauce seems a little dry, just add a little of the pasta water.

– Plate and garnish with a little chopped Parsley and, if you like, you can top it off with the optional Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano. Buon appetito!


And that’s it! Piece of cake, really! Speaking of cake: really wish I also made Uncle Monty’s Coconut Cream Cake for dessert. Oh well, next time maybe. Anyway! If you lay out all the ingredients mise en place, you can cook the sauce while the pasta is cooking. So it only takes around 10 minutes to make.
Frankie does warn in his video that this pasta dish is pretty pungent and holy macaroni it really is! Not in a bad way, though. Still, you might want to turn on the ventilation system in your kitchen. Ye be warned…


Have you made Pasta Puttanesca before? And have you seen Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events yet? Let me know in the comments C;  comments