Putanesca – Chicken

This recipe is my version of the dish served at The Blue Moose restaurant.

“Puttanesca” translates to “in the style of prostitutes,” supposedly because the pungent aromas were how Neapolitan prostitutes would lead customers to their doors.

Makes 3 -4 servings.  


  • 1/2 pound (225g) dried angel hair spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Large pinch red pepper flakes (ground in spice grinder)
  • 1/2 cup capers, drained and chopped (1 small jar).
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted Calamata olives plus 1/4 cup juice.
  • 1 cup (225g) crushed Italian tomatoes
  • Small handful minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 ounce (30g) finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large pre-grilled chicken breast
  • 1 large sweet red onion – roughly chopped (1/4″ x 1″)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place spaghetti in a large skillet, sauté pan, or saucepan and cover with water. Add a small pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking
  2. Meanwhile in a medium skillet, combine 4 tablespoons (60ml) oil, garlic, onions, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat until garlic is very lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add capers, and olives and stir to combine.
  3. Add tomatoes, stir to combine, and bring to a bare simmer. Continue to simmer until pasta is cooked to just under al dente (about 1 minute less than the package recommends).
  4. Drain pasta through a colander, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add drained pasta to sauce.
  5. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water to sauce and increase heat to bring pasta and sauce to a vigorous simmer. Cook, stirring and shaking the pan and adding more pasta water as necessary to keep sauce loose, until pasta is perfectly al dente, 1 to 2 minutes longer. (The pasta will cook more slowly in the sauce than it did in the water.) Stir in remaining olive oil, parsley, and cheese.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. (Be generous with the pepper and scant with the salt—the dish will be plenty salty from the other ingredients.) Slice chicken breast and stir it in. Serve immediately with more grated cheese at the table.
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