The trick you need to know to make a Puttanesca pasta taste great is the same trick you need to know to make almost every pasta taste great. The method is called risottare, which comes from risotto.
Risottare is not the same thing as mantecare or sautéing. Risottare, allows the sauce to penetrate the pasta, it literally gets into it. Flavours amalgamate turning a simple puttanesca pasta into something that goes way beyond any verbal description. You need to try it, to understand what I mean.
Cook the pasta as you would a risotto.
The pot of water is boiling. The puttanesca sauce is almost ready. Butta la pasta (throw the pasta in the pot).
Cook the pasta half the time required. The package will indicate how much time it takes to cook it al dente. 15 minutes? Set your timer to 7.
Don't drain the pasta but use something, like a pasta fork or a hand colander, so that you can pull it up from its water. Keep the pot with the liquid handy. The pasta now goes straight into the pan where the puttanesca sauce is waiting to receive it. Turn on the heat and add a couple of ladles of the pasta's liquid in the pan. Allow the pasta to absorb the liquid by flipping and tossing the pasta. As you would with a risotto. Repeat the process until the pasta is cooked al dente (your timer is set to 7 minutes, remember?).
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 anchovies, drained and finely chopped
2 whole garlic cloves
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
100 grams taggiasche olives (buy them with the pit and remove the pits yourself, they contain more flavor)
a few fruit capers (rinsed and drained)
dried chilli flakes
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
Add the extra virgine olive oil into a large sauce pan. Add the garlic cloves and cook for about 3 minutes, remove the garlic from the pan. Add the anchovies and let them dissolve in the oil with the help of a wooden spoon. Add the olives and chilli flakes. Now raise the heat on the stove and add the canned tomatoes. Don't squish the tomates, leave the tomatoes whole. Turn the tomatoes so they can cook on all sides. The high heat allows the tomatoes to caramelize but will also make a mess on your stove, it is, however, a necessary step for taste and worth cleaning up afterwards.
Lower the heat and cook no more than ten minutes stirring every now and again.
Cook your pasta using the risottare method mentioned above.