Pasta Puttanesca

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Pasta Puttanesca is a flavorful and bold Italian pasta dish known for its rich tomato sauce infused with anchovies, capers, olives, and garlic. This classic recipe is quick to prepare and bursts with Mediterranean flavors, making it a perfect choice for a satisfying weeknight dinner. Here’s how to make Pasta Puttanesca at home.


  • 12 ounces (340g) dried spaghetti or linguine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 anchovy fillets, minced (or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 1 can (28 ounces / 800g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)


1. Cook the Pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.

2. Prepare the Sauce:

  1. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant.
  2. Add minced anchovies (or anchovy paste) and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the anchovies dissolve into the oil.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes, chopped Kalamata olives, and drained capers. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
  4. Reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to meld together. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

3. Combine Pasta and Sauce:

  1. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Toss gently to coat the pasta evenly with the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.

4. Serve:

  1. Divide Pasta Puttanesca among serving plates or bowls.
  2. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
  3. Serve immediately, and enjoy the bold flavors of Pasta Puttanesca.

5. Optional Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve Pasta Puttanesca with a side of garlic bread or a simple green salad.
  • Pair with a medium-bodied red wine, such as Chianti or Sangiovese, to complement the robust flavors of the dish.

6. Tips:

  • Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your preference for spiciness.
  • Feel free to add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a splash of dry white wine to the sauce for extra brightness.
  • Leftover Pasta Puttanesca can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave before serving.


Pasta Puttanesca is a classic Italian pasta dish that delights with its bold flavors of anchovies, olives, capers, and garlic in a rich tomato sauce. This recipe is easy to prepare and perfect for satisfying your craving for Mediterranean flavors. Enjoy Pasta Puttanesca as a comforting and flavorful meal any day of the week, and savor the robust tastes that make it a favorite among pasta lovers.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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