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Pasta Puttanesca Recipe


Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca.

Frank Chmura / Getty Images

Pasta Puttanesca Recipe

Pasta puttanesca is a dish notable for the fact that it can be prepared with ingredients — olive oil, tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic — that most Italians are likely to have in their pantries.

This version of the recipe features spaghettini, or thin spaghetti, though it can be made with penne, bucatini, linguine or vermicelli.

Learning the meaning and origins of the name puttanesca is left as an exercise for the reader.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 2 lb spaghettini (or spaghetti)
  • 1¾ lb canned whole tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 7-8 anchovy fillets, mashed with a fork
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained
  • ½ cup kalamata olives (or other black olives), pitted and sliced
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Fill a large soup pot with cold water and add a handful or so of Kosher salt. Stir and taste; it should taste like seawater. Cover the pot and heat the water until it boils.

  2. Drain and coarsely chop the tomatoes.

  3. Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over moderate heat a few seconds, then add about half the olive oil. When the oil starts to heat up, add the garlic and sauté it for another minute, being careful not to let it burn.

  4. Add the tomatoes, capers, and olives and let the sauce come to a boil. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

  5. Add the anchovy fillets and continue sautéing for another several seconds. Cooking the anchovies for too long can give the sauce a fishy flavor.

  6. Sprinkle in the oregano and parsley along with the remaining olive oil. Season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and keep warm while the pasta cooks.

  7. Drop the spaghettini into the boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions, about 6 to 9 minutes or until al dente, or tender but still firm to the bite. Drain fully, toss with the sauce, and serve right away.
Makes 4-5 servings.
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