Enjoy a 10% discount on all orders over $60

Pasta Puttanesca

This Puttanesca Pasta recipe is a combination of salty, spicy and earthy flavors. A quick and easy weeknight meal with capers, olives, anchovies and a tangy tomato-garlic sauce.

January 10, 2024
Pasta PuttanescaPhoto By Canva
Difficulty Easy
Servings 4 people
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 30 mins
Total 50 mins



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds. If using anchovies, add them now and cook, mashing them with a fork, until dissolved into the oil.
  2. Stir in the red pepper flakes, olives, and capers, and cook for another minute to release their aromas.
  3. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and oregano, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce in the skillet, adding a splash of the reserved pasta water for extra creaminess.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of additional red pepper flakes, if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Pasta Puttanesca
Serves 4
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Protein 15 g30%
Total Fat 10 g12.8%
Sodium 500 mg21.7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • Use high-quality olives, capers, and anchovies for the best flavor.
  • Traditionally, spaghetti is used, but any long pasta works well. For more, check out our ‘Types of Pastas’ article.
  • Ensure the pasta is al dente as it will continue to cook slightly in the sauce.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce as soon as it’s drained to absorb the flavors better.
  • Anchovies add depth to the sauce. If you're not a fan, you can reduce the quantity or omit them, but they're traditional.
  • Opt for canned San Marzano tomatoes for a richer and more authentic taste.
  • Adjust the amount according to your heat preference.
  • For a richer flavor, add a splash of red wine to the sauce after adding the anchovies.
  • If you don't have anchovies, you can substitute a teaspoon of anchovy paste.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your desired level of spiciness.
  • Leftover Puttanesca pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • A sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil can add freshness to the dish.
  • You can make a vegetarian version by omitting the anchovies.
Rate This Recipe

Pasta Puttanesca is a celebration of simplicity, where humble pantry staples transform into a flavor fiesta. With plump tomatoes, salty olives and savory capers, each bite combine with the the umami flavor of anchovies.

It's a dish born in the bustling kitchens of Naples, where resourceful cooks elevated basic pantry staples into culinary masterpieces. Your kitchen will be filled with the aroma of simmering tomatoes, and your taste buds will be celebrating with every savory, spicy bite.

Origin of The Puttanesca Pasta

The legend of Puttanesca pasta swirls with the vibrant energy of Naples, Italy's culinary heartbeat. While its precise origins remain shrouded in the bustling alleyways and laughter-filled trattorias of the historic port city, one thing is certain – this is a dish born of resourcefulness and a deep love for bold flavors.

What Type of Pasta Should Be Used for Puttanesca Pasta?

Long Pasta:

  • Spaghetti: The traditional choice, it offers a nice surface area for the sauce to cling to.
  • Linguine: Similar to spaghetti, but with a flatter, wider strand that captures even more sauce.
  • Bucatini: Hollow, tube-shaped pasta that allows the sauce to fill its interior for extra flavor in every bite.
  • Fettuccine: These broader noodles provide a luxurious platform for the vibrant sauce.

Short Pasta:

  • Penne: Fun and bite-sized, penne offers a playful presentation and holds the sauce well.
  • Fusilli: The spiral shape of fusilli traps the sauce in its twists and turns for a textural delight.
  • Farfalle (Bow Tie): These charming little bows look adorable and cradle the sauce beautifully.

Ultimately, the best pasta for Puttanesca is the one you enjoy the most! So experiment, have fun, and let your personal taste guide the way. Remember, Puttanesca is all about bold flavors and simple pleasure, so don't be afraid to break the mold and try something new. You might just discover your new favorite way to enjoy this classic Italian dish!

No matter what pasta you choose, be sure to cook it according to package instructions and reserve a splash of the pasta water before draining. This starchy water adds body and creaminess to the sauce, making it even more irresistible.

What To Serve with Puttanesca Pasta?

Here are our delicious recipes that you can serve with Puttanesca Pasta:

Wine & Dine

Choosing the perfect wine for Pasta Puttanesca requires navigating the bold and sometimes spicy flavors of the dish. Here are some recommendations that will complement the symphony of tastes in your Puttanesca:

Red Wine:

Sangiovese: This Italian classic pairs beautifully with the vibrant acidity of the tomatoes and the salty olives. Look for a Chianti or Rosso di Montalcino with medium body and bright fruit notes.

Nero d'Avola: Another Italian grape, Nero d'Avola offers bolder tannins and richer fruit that can stand up to the anchovies and chili flakes. Opt for a wine from Sicily for a perfect regional pairing.

Grenache: This versatile grape thrives in warmer climates and produces wines with juicy berry fruits and a touch of peppery spice. A Grenache from Spain or Southern France will add a playful counterpoint to the Puttanesca's boldness.

White Wine:

Falanghina: This southern Italian grape produces wines with floral aromas, citrusy acidity, and a hint of minerality. It's a refreshing choice that cuts through the richness of the sauce and brightens the palate.

Vermentino: Another Italian white, Vermentino offers crisp acidity and herbal notes that complement the olives and capers. Look for a Vermentino from Sardinia or Tuscany for a delightful pairing.

Rosé: Don't underestimate the versatility of rosé! A dry rosé with good acidity can stand up to the savory notes of the Puttanesca while offering a light and refreshing counterpoint. Opt for a Provençal rosé from France or a Sangiovese rosé from Italy.

Bonus Tip: If you're unsure, opt for a wine from the same region as your chosen pasta. This often creates a harmonious pairing due to the shared culinary traditions and climate conditions.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @PETITEGOURMETS using the hashtag #PGRECIPES and share on Instagram. We'll feature you on our site.

Shop on Petite Gourmets