Pasta Puttanesca

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Quick Summary

Pasta Puttanesca- this simple pasta dish is made with pantry staples like olive oil, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, garlic, and capers. Serve with spaghetti or bucatini for the perfect 30 minute meal.

pasta puttanesca in pot with parmesan cheese and serving fork.

Pasta nights are always the best nights. A few favorite pasta dishes include: spaghetti, baked ziti, spaghetti carbonara, and pasta primavera. Another winning pasta dish is Pasta Puttanesca. This classic pasta is full of flavor and so easy to make!

Puttanesca sauce is made with basic ingredients that you probably have in your pantry; olive oil, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, garlic, and capers.

It’s a simple sauce and only takes 30 minutes to make. The sauce is rich, fragrant, and has a punch of unami flavor that will keep you coming back for more. The briny flavors really make this pasta sauce special and irresistible.

Serve with spaghetti, bucatini, or your favorite pasta. Garnish with fresh herbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for an easy and delicious meal! Pasta perfection!

ingredients in bowls to make pasta puttanesca.

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes– use canned San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes. The tomatoes are long, skinny, and have a thin skin with a thick flesh. They are less watery than other tomatoes and have more flavor.
  • Olive oil– for sautéing and giving the sauce a rich flavor.
  • Anchovy filets– the anchovies give the sauce GREAT flavor. If you’ve never cooked with them. don’t be scared. They are finely chopped and you won’t even know they are there.
  • Garlic– minced.
  • Kalamata olives– look for pitted olives.
  • Capers– tangy, salty, and briny! A flavor powerhouse!
  • Dried oregano– I use dried oregano because I always have it in the pantry.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes– for a little heat.
  • Pasta– spaghetti or bucatini
  • Fresh herbs– parsley and basil, for garnish.
  • Parmesan cheese– for serving.
san marzano tomatoes in bowl with fork.

How to Make Pasta Puttanesca

  • Place the tomatoes with their juices in a large bowl. Use your hands or a fork to smash the tomatoes. They should have a chunky consistency. Set aside.
olive oil with anchovies in skillet with wooden spoon to make pasta puttanesca.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the anchovies and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
olive oil, tomatoes, olives, dried herbs, and capers in skillet to make pasta puttanesca sauce.
  • Stir in the tomatoes with juices, olives, capers, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes.
pasta puttanesca sauce in skillet with wooden spoon.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
spaghetti in colander.
  • While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and keep warm.
spaghetti in skillet with tongs and puttanesca sauce.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss with tongs until the pasta is well coated. Add the parsley and basil and toss again.
  • Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
pasta puttanesca in bowls with capers, olives, herbs, and parmesan cheese.

Recipe Variations

  • Anchovies– instead of using anchovies, you can substitute anchovy paste. Typically, 1 anchovy = ½ teaspoon of paste, so for this recipe, use 3 teaspoons of paste. If need the recipe to be vegetarian, you can try miso paste or a little soy sauce, but the flavor won’t be exactly the same.
  • Olives– instead of kalamata olives, you can use black or green olives.
  • Protein– add tuna or chicken!
  • Vegetables– not traditional, but feel free to add mushrooms, peppers, or zucchini.
  • Pasta– I use spaghetti or bucatini, but you can use any shape of pasta. Or serve the sauce over polenta, zoodles, chicken, or rice.

What to Serve With Pasta Puttanesca

Storage

  • Storing Leftovers: For best results, only combine the amount of pasta and sauce that you will be eating so you can store leftover sauce on it’s own. To store the sauce, let it cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat the sauce in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Boil fresh pasta to serve with the sauce. If you do have leftover pasta and sauce that are already combined, you can store them in a container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezing the Sauce: You can freeze the sauce in a freezer container for up to 3 months. Thaw and heat in a pot on the stovetop. Cook pasta and add it to the sauce.
pasta puttanesca in bowl with fork.

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Pasta Puttanesca

This simple pasta dish is made with pantry staples like olive oil, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, garlic, and capers. Serve with spaghetti or bucatini for the perfect 30 minute meal.
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Ingredients
  

  • 28- ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions
 

  • Place the tomatoes with their juices in a large bowl. Use your hands or a fork to smash the tomatoes. They should have a chunky consistency. Set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the anchovies and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomatoes with juices, olives, capers, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and keep warm.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss with tongs until the pasta is well coated. Add the parsley and basil and toss again. Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 539kcal, Carbohydrates: 80g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 707mg, Potassium: 835mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 767IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 120mg, Iron: 4mg
Keywords capers, olives, pasta, tomatoes

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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