Messina is a bit of Sicily right here on Cape Cod
Probably the best "Whore's Pasta" this side of Naples
I dote on Puttanesca which literally mean Whore's Pasta in Italian. At Messina's in Eastham this spicy and hot roma tomato sauce with anchovies, capers and olives, is only $10.95, or you can order a 1/2 order for $6.95.
Every dish we sampled here was mouthwatering, the cod, shrimp, salad and dessert, but this is a love song about Puttanesca.
To understand how this sauce came to get its name, one must consider the 1950s when brothels in Italy were state-owned. They were known as case chiuse or 'closed houses' because the shutters had to be kept permanently closed to avoid offending the sensibilities of neighbors or innocent passersby.
Conscientious Italian housewives usually shop at the local market every day to buy fresh food, but these "civil servants" were only allowed one day per week for shopping, and their time was valuable. Their specialty became a sauce made quickly from odds and ends in the larder, and prepared in the few minutes they had between "tricks".
Historians have suggested the Bay of Naples is the birthplace of this dish. Also, various accounts exist as to when and how it originated, but it likely dates to the mid-twentieth century. The earliest known mention of it is in a 1961 Italian novel which mentions spaghetti alla puttanesca come li fanno a Siracusa (spaghetti alla puttanesca as they make it in Syracuse , and we mean the one in Sicily).
According to the Professional Union of Italian Pasta Makers the sauce became popular in the 1960s, and the 1971 edition of the Cucchiaio d'argento has no recipe with this name, but two which are similar. The Neapolitan Spaghetti alla partenopea, is made with anchovies and generous quantities of oregano, while spaghetti alla siciliana is distinguished by the addition of green peppers.
I make this dish often at home, had it often in restaurants all over the U.S. and in Italy, but never better than at Messina's in Eastham. Chef/owner Jim Russo is Sicilian to the nth degree, and especially his recipes.
Jim serves dinner nightly from 4p.m. with 50% OFF 2nd Entree - every day.