Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca is one of my favorite recipes I found in the last couple years.  It is such an easy recipe to make, but has so much flavor.  It is a little bit spicy, but not too much.  It would make a perfect weeknight dinner or  dinner for company on the weekend,  as long as your company likes Kalamata olives, since they are the star ingredient of this dish.

Basically, to make Pasta Puttanesca, the only preparation is pressing some garlic, slicing some basil, and blending a can of tomatoes.  So simple!  It can be made in about 30 minutes or less.   I usually think really good food needs time to make, but this dish is definitely an exception.  It is one of the most delicious, yet quick recipes that I have made.

Wouldn’t this pasta be perfect for Valentine’s Day?  There is just something romantic about Italian food.  If you are like my husband and I and don’t want to fight the crowds that night, this would be a great choice to make for your loved one.  Add some bread sticks or French bread, and a chocolate dessert, and you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner that didn’t take all day to make.  But even if you don’t make it for Valentine’s Day, I hope you try it soon.  It is likely to become a family favorite no matter what night it is.

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti (we love angel hair spaghetti)
  • 5 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste (I know it sounds like a lot, but you really need it, and it won’t taste fishy)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (I used 1/4, only use 1/2 if you like it really spicy)
  • 1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (preferably Italian)
  • 1/2 c pitted Kalamata olives, whole or sliced in two
  • 2 Tbsp. drained capers
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 3/4 c coarsely chopped basil
  1. Cook spaghetti in a pot of boiling water until done, according to package directions.
  2. While pasta boils, cook garlic, anchovy paste, red-pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, purée tomatoes with juice in a blender.
  4. Add tomato puree to garlic oil along with olives and capers, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready.  Stir in sugar if desired.
  5. Drain pasta and place in a bowl.  Pour sauce over top and garnish with basil and extra olives.  Serve immediately.

Recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious


About Shari

My name is Shari, and I am an Arizona native and married mother of 3 who loves to cook and bake and figure out how to garden successfully in our suburban home in the desert. On this blog you will find a combination of savory and sweet recipes that have been tested by me, along with many tips to help you be successful. I hope you enjoy them! (
This entry was posted in Company, Italian, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipes, Valentine's Day, Weekend Meals, Weeknight Meals and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Pasta Puttanesca

  1. kcinaz says:

    You make everything look so yummy.

    • cookazido says:

      Thank you, Karen! That means a lot to me. Especially since I wasn’t happy with how this picture turned out. The sauce was not cooperating!:) I appreciate you stopping by.

  2. I was a little taken aback by the mention of 2 tsp anchovy paste, but I’ll take your word that it won’t be too fishy.

    This looks truly wonderful. My husband LOVES olives, so I think he’d be all over this one.

    Thanks for another terrific post!

    • cookazido says:

      Thanks for your comment, Ruth! I know – 2 tsp. of anchovy paste was a little scary to me, but surprisingly it wasn’t fishy tasting. If your husband loves olives, I think he would enjoy this one. I hope you get a chance to try it! I appreciate you dropping by.

  3. Liz says:

    Very simple indeed and I love Kalamata olives. I must try it. I shall give you a feedback. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • cookazido says:

      Thank you for your comment, Liz! I love Kalamata olives, too. They are so salty and flavorful. Let me know if you get a chance to try it. I appreciate you stopping by!

  4. You’re so right, Shari this is one recipe that is packed with flavor. My mother’s favorite Italian recipe, in fact. We’ll try your recipe, since we don’t have one of our own! As I said in my reply to you today on my blog (to your comment), I am truly humbled that you thought of me all the way in AZ during this unusual Southern winter storm. We are just fine, since being from Iowa, we are very used to this weather. But I truly feel for those who have suffered (especially in Atlanta) from the lack of resources to deal with this weather that is very, very NOT normal here. Blessings Shari, stay warm in the AZ sun!

    • cookazido says:

      I’m so glad you and your family are doing well, Roz! Thanks for letting me know. I’m the one that feels humbled to have you trying my recipe for pasta when you have grown up making authentic Italian food your whole life! This was just a recipe that I ran across and really enjoyed, so I hope you like it, too. I’ve never eaten it anywhere else so I don’t know what the norm is for Pasta Puttanesca. All I know is I feel the same as your mom about this dish. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by!

  5. PS: I’ve pinned your Puttanesca recipe in my “Deliciously Italian” group board on Pinterest that is very popular and active in pinning!

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