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  • Writer's pictureTreva Gambs

A Romantic Evening In: Treva's Valentine's Day Puttanesca Pasta Recipe

Updated: Feb 6


Welcome to a romantic culinary journey brought to you from the heart of Gamberetti's kitchen! I'm Treva Gambs, the passionate chef behind our beloved Italian haven. Tonight, I'm excited to guide you through a delightful Italian classic that's perfect for creating a romantic atmosphere at home: Puttanesca. This dish embodies the essence of Italy and sets the stage for a memorable Valentine's Day celebration. So, let's embrace the spirit of love, light some candles, and dive into the flavors of Puttanesca!

The Recipe: Treva's Valentine's Day Puttanesca Pasta


  • Bucatini pasta – 8 oz (about half a package)

  • Marinara sauce – 2 cups

  • Capers – 2 tablespoons

  • Kalamata olives – 1/4 cup, pitted and halved

  • Chili flakes – 1/2 teaspoon (adjust to your spice preference)

  • Feta cheese – 1/2 cup, crumbled

  • Fresh basil leaves – for garnish

  • Anchovies (optional, by request)

Cooking Steps:

  1. Cook the Bucatini: Cook the bucatini pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

  2. Prepare the Sauce: In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and chili flakes. Sauté for about a minute until fragrant.

  3. Add Marinara and Extras: Pour in the marinara sauce, then add capers and Kalamata olives. Stir to combine and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.

  4. Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add the cooked bucatini to the pan with the sauce. Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated.

  5. Garnish and Serve: Plate the Puttanesca pasta, crumble feta cheese over the top, and garnish with fresh basil leaves. If desired, serve with anchovies on the side for a more traditional experience.

The Romance of Puttanesca

Puttanesca is a classic pasta Italian dish known for its bold and passionate flavors and is a specialty at Gamberetti's Italian Restaurant in Salem, Oregon. It's the perfect choice for a romantic dinner because of its vibrant taste and the way it awakens the senses. The combination of tangy capers, briny olives, and a touch of chili heat creates a symphony of flavors that will make your Valentine's Day celebration truly special.

Create the Perfect Ambiance

For an unforgettable evening, consider setting the table with elegant tableware, lighting some candles, and playing soft Italian music in the background. The ambiance will elevate the dining experience and make your Valentine's Day celebration memorable.

Substitutions and Creative Alternatives

Seafood Variations:

  • Seasonal Seafood: Embrace the seasons by incorporating seafood that is fresh and abundant. Summer might bring scallops and crabs, while winter could highlight hearty fish like cod or halibut.

Vegetable Additions:

  • Hearty Vegetables: Consider adding chunks of potatoes or fennel for a heartier stew. These vegetables absorb the flavors of the broth, adding their unique textures and tastes.

Spice It Up:

  • Adjusting the Heat: For those who enjoy a bit of spice, consider adding red pepper flakes to the base of your stew. This adds a gentle heat that warms you up from the inside.


Treva's Puttanesca Pasta is more than just a recipe; it's a celebration of love and the joy of sharing a delicious meal with someone special. Make this Valentine's Day memorable with the vibrant flavors of Italy right here in the Willamette Valley. Share this dish, share your love, and create beautiful memories together.

Until our next culinary adventure, happy cooking and buon appetito!

Full Video

Part 1

Part 2

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