Pasta alla Puttanesca

You can find plenty of recipes for puttanesca sauce both online and in print, and there’s a very good reason it’s become so popular. Pasta Puttanesca is a quick, easy, inexpensive dish that, thanks to its rich flavors makes a truly satisfying, Italian-style dinner. Pair it with a salad, some garlic bread and a glass of Chianti and you simply can’t go wrong.

Pasta alla Puttanesca

Pasta alla Puttanesca

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This pungently flavored pasta sauce is made with tomatoes, black olives, capers and anchovies. Serve it with any cut of pasta you choose, add a salad and you have a satisfying, quick and economical dinner.


  • 12 ounces spaghetti (or your favorite cut of pasta)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-ounce tin of flat anchovies, lightly rinsed (see recipe notes)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups (26 to 28 ounce can) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Stir in the anchovies and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the anchovies "melt" and the mixture is well blended.
  3. Stir in the white wine, then add the tomatoes, oregano and crushed red pepper. Bring to a slow simmer, then stir in the Kalamata olives and capers.
  4. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 10 minutes. Taste again and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  5. While the sauce finishes, cook and drain the pasta according to package directions.
  6. To serve, plate individual portions of pasta and top with sauce.


Occasionally anchovies can be excessively salty, and giving them a quick rinse helps get that under control. Transfer them to a small dish, cover with cold water and give them a quick stir. Drain thoroughly and proceed with your recipe, but be cautious when using additional salt in your dish.