Well this is embarrassing. Without further ado, we hereby apologize to puttanesca, that saucy Italian dish of pasta with tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, chili flakes, olives and capers, for the decades it was assumed to be named after the ladies of the evening who cooked it. In our defense, that's a pretty good origin story and it's nice to know "willing suspension of disbelief" is alive and well. But really, mia cara, on behalf of pasta lovers everywhere, scusarsi. You're no more a hooker than the term "that shit is delicious" is meant literally.
A recent article on Slate exposed the true etymology behind this salty wench of the Italian menu, and while the new tale may downgrade the dish significantly in the "sexy foods" department, at least we're no longer living a lie when we sauté a bunch of fridge stuff in hot olive oil. Puttana, besides its traditional definition, is used as everyday utiliarian profanity, much like we mindlessly employ the word "shit." Is that shit delicious? Uh, is it puttanesca, which is a bunch of shit sautéed in hot olive oil and tossed with pasta? Then, most emphatically, yes.
Now, to determine what Italian prostitutes of yore actually cooked…
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