Pasta Puttanesca

I know I’ve told you all before how BeeBop loves his meat and potatoes. I do, too, but I also love veggies! If I could get away with it, I’d do a meatless dinner several times a week. While we’re not quite to that point yet, I do occasionally slip in a meatless meal and he usually enjoys it. This is one that I tried recently and have cooked it again since then so I know it’s a winner. Plus, it’s very quick, no more than 20 minutes from start to finish. It does use anchovies, but you can leave them out if you’re totally convinced that you don’t like them. I think if you tried it once with the anchovies, though, you might decide to keep them in. They really melt into the sauce and you never know they’re there. They just give a sort of nutty background flavor.

I was going to explain the origin of the Puttanesca Sauce, but, well, my Mama reads this blog and I don’t think she’d appreciate me spelling that out here in front of everyone. So, if you’re curious about Puttanesca, take a look at this link at Food Reference.

For this sauce, I recommend using the highest quality San Marzano tomatoes you can find. I especially like the Cento brand.

1 pound pasta
1 tblsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 anchovy fillets or 2 tblsp anchovy paste (optional)
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
2 tblsp capers, drained
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tblsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add one tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook pasta until desired doneness.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the olives, garlic and tomatoes. Pit the olives by pressing each with the flat side of a knife then remove the pit. Chop olives roughly and set aside. Mince the garlic and set aside. Cut the whole tomatoes into rough pieces, or do what I do and crush each tomato with my hand as I add them into the pan.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes and anchovies (if using). Cook while stirring and mashing the anchovy fillets until the garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the chopped or crushed tomatoes with their juice. Stir in capers and olives. Bring the a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until tomatoes are softened and sauce is thickened. About 5-10 minutes.

When ready to serve, add the fresh basil and the cooked, drained pasta into the tomato sauce and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with some shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Enjoy!

Pasta Puttanesca
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A quick and easy pasta sauce. Ready in under 20 minutes!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 anchovy fillets or 2 tblsp anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tblsp capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tblsp chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add one tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook pasta until desired doneness.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the olives, garlic and tomatoes. Pit the olives by pressing each with the flat side of a knife then remove the pit. Chop olives roughly and set aside. Mince the garlic and set aside. Cut the whole tomatoes into rough pieces (what I do is to crush each tomato with my hands as I add them into the pan).
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes and anchovies (if using). Cook, stirring and mashing the anchovy fillets until the garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped or crushed tomatoes with their juice. Stir in capers and olives. Bring the a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until tomatoes are softened and sauce is thickened. About 5-10 minutes. When ready to serve, add the fresh basil and the cooked pasta into the tomato sauce and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
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–Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food

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Comments

  1. says

    One my friends talks about Pasta Puttanesca all the time and she makes it often, I am going to have to give it a try myself! Looks great!

  2. says

    I’m also a fan of this wonderful dish, which is also a great way to use excess home-grown tomatoes. And I too would hesitate to detail to my mom the origins of its name! Thank you sharing your delicious-sounding recipe.

    • says

      This would be fantastic in late summer when there is an abundance of home-grown tomatoes! I’ve just recently planted my tomatoes for this year. Maybe I’ll have enough to give it a try.

  3. clive says

    This dish was absolutely incredible. Two issues (aren’t there always?). Pitting the olives was a little messy and the pepper, even though just half a teaspoon, made the dish a little hot. That aside i could eat the whole pound of pasta by myself it is so tasty. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

    p.s. the kitchen smells good enough to eat haha

    • says

      Hi Clive. Very glad you enjoyed the recipe. So, next time you’ll adjust for less pepper. I happen to like it quite spicy. Also, you can buy the pitted kalamata olives if that’s your preference. I always pit them and have not found it to be messy. But, as they say, “your mileage may vary.”

  4. clive says

    I made this again the other day and used less red pepper (1/4 tspn).

    The dish tastes better when made the way the recipe is written. :)

    I still cant believe how tasty this is. thanks

  5. Elizabeth Ferrell says

    This is a really wonderful recipe; except, I was wondering if you really meant 2 tablespoons? I used 2 teaspoons instead and I didn’t really miss anything.

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