There are almost as many explanations for the origins of pasta puttanesca as there are ways to make it Ostensibly a sauce invented and made by prostitutes, it was designed to lure customers with its powerful aroma.
- Start by peeling and finely chopping the onion with a sharp knife then peel and crush the garlic cloves in a garlic crusher.
- With clean hands, remove the meat from the sausages by splitting the skin and turning them inside out. Always wash your hands when you have been touching raw meat.
- Zest the two lemons with a fine grater – don’t go too deep though as the pith under the skin is a bit bitter. Then, chop one of the lemons in half and extract the juice with a lemon squeezer. (The other zested lemon can be used for adding extra juice on the plate or for something else another day.)
- Roughly chop the parsley with a large knife or in a mug with a pair of scissors.
- Put a large saucepan of salted water on to a high heat and bring it up to the boil. Once it is boiling, add the spaghetti, then reduce the heat so it is simmering and follow the packet instructions for the cooking time – normally around 11 minutes.
- Put a large heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the chopped onion, crushed garlic and chilli flakes if you are using them, and cook until the onions have softened.
- Add the sausage meat to the pan and fry until golden brown. Like when you are cooking mince, you will have to break down the sausage meat with a spatula as it cooks.
- Pour in the stock and allow it to bubble away until the amount of liquid has reduced by half – this will take about 6 to 8 minutes.
- When the stock has reduced, stir in the crème fraîche, lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper (see my tip). Cook for 2 minutes more.
- Once cooked, drain the pasta and add it to the sausage sauce in the frying pan with a spoon of the pasta cooking water. Give it a good stir so the sauce covers the spaghetti then serve with the chopped parsley scattered on top.
Taste your sauce before adding extra salt — it might not need it because sausages are already quite salty. I love chilli and add it to almost everything! But if your sausages are already spicy, you may not need the chilli flakes.