On this episode of Cheaters: Pasta Puttanesca

I’m not sure if the show Cheaters is still on but it used to be a late night favorite of my roommate, Morgan, and I in college. Back in the day when we could stay up late watching tv, eating cheese popcorn and drinking beers. Everything has its time.

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve been thinking about great adult memories around food. The last time I traveled to Europe I was in the Netherlands and Holland with my good friends Alison and Piet. I know Alison and Piet from different stages of my life and so therefor we do dramatically different things when we are together. During my time with Alison, we cooked in and I got the opportunity to explore grocery shopping in Dutch (she called her side of the trip “Baller on a Budget). With Piet, we ate out mostly trying his family’s favorite meals. I had some really great meals on that trip. The last night I was there I had a spicy pasta dish. The pasta was delicious – homemade and extremely thin. I’m not sure it was so good because I was really hungry and partly hungover – but I remember it fondly.

Sunday night I made a cheaters version of a Spicy Pasta Puttanesca. It wasnt as good as the homemade pasta and sauce in Belgium but it hit the spot on a cold Sunday evening.

A Cheaters Spicy Pasta Puttanesca


  • olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large pinches red pepper flakes (or to your liking)
  • 1 half can anchovies, minced
  • 1 large handful olives, pitted and minced (I use black olives but either would work)
  • 1 small handful capers
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I use San Marzano)

Assembly: In a large pan, saute the garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovies, olives and capers in a splash of olive oil. Once it is fragrant and the garlic has toasted, add the marinara sauce. The San Marzano is a bit pricer than Ragu but I think it makes a huge difference. Cook the pasta to just before aldente and add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Add a splash of pasta water if you need to thicken the sauce!


  1. I use more garlic, a 24-Ounce can of Crushed Tomatoes with Basil instead of sauce (cheaper & no sugar), and add Red Pepper Flakes…Belissimo!

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