I asked them to make dinner, and all they have made is some disgusting sauce.
— Count Olaf

Pasta puttanesca is a dish cooked by the Baudelaires for Count Olaf when he told them to make dinner for him and his theater troupe. When the Baudelaires were unsure what to make, they found a cookbook in Justice Strauss' library. They hoped that if they served him a nice meal, he may treat them kinder.

Puttanesca sauce is an Italian sauce made "by sautéing olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, chopped parsely, and tomatoes" in a pot and preparing pasta to go with it.

In the movie, when the Baudelaires announce they are serving pasta puttanesca, Olaf replies, "What did you call me?" The name translates to "sauce in the style of the prostitute" or "whore's spaghetti". Italian legend has it that this dish was named as such because it was the everyday prostitutes signature dish, due to the affordability of its ingredients and how 'easy' it is to make. The sauce is said to have been devised by prostitutes as one which could be cooked quickly between clients' visits.

How the pasta is made differs in each adaptation. In the book, although the recipe book mentions spaghetti, the Baudelaires go to a pasta store and buy "interestingly shaped" noodles. In the film, the Baudelaires already find random pasta scattered around Count Olaf's filthy kitchen. In the TV series, the Baudelaires make the pasta themselves.

When the Baudelaires served it to Count Olaf, along with chocolate pudding for dessert, he asked where the roast beef was. When the Baudelaires replied that he did not ask for it and they did not make it, nor do they have it, he violently slapped Klaus. Later, in the book, it is mentioned that the sauce resembled a vat of blood to Violet.