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Classic Pasta Puttanesca

A quick and easy pasta sauce. Ready in under 20 minutes!
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 20 minutes

My Classic Pasta Puttanesca is a quick and easy pasta sauce that’s ready to serve in under 20 minutes!

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.

My Classic Pasta Puttanesca is a quick and easy pasta sauce that's ready to serve in under 20 minutes! Just add bread and a salad. https://www.lanascooking.com/pasta-puttanesca/

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 Classic Pasta 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.

How to Make Classic Pasta Puttanesca

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

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

Preparing kalamata olives and garlic on a cutting board.

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 (or buy the pitted ones and save yourself the trouble). Chop the olives roughly and set aside.

Mince the garlic and set it aside as well. Cut the whole tomatoes into rough pieces, or do what I do and simply crush each tomato with my hand as I add it into the pan.

Oil, garlic, red pepper, and anchovies cooking in a skillet.

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.

Tomatoes, olives, and capers added to the pan.

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

Adding fresh basil at the end of cooking.

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.

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A serving of classic pasta puttanesca in a bowl.

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Pasta Puttanesca

A quick and easy pasta sauce. Ready in under 20 minutes!
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 131kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta (linguini or other ribbon style pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 anchovy fillets or 2 tablespoons anchovy paste (optional)
  • 28 ounces canned, whole plum tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • ½ cup kalamata olives pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • 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 (what I do is to crush each tomato with my hands 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, 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 to 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

Nutrition Information

Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 988mg | Potassium: 894mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2346IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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20 Comments

  1. This looks really tasty, and I agree with you on the Tomatoes. I do a quick an dirty version when I’m in a hurry after work.. http://tiny.cc/8ce1b. I drop a few ingredients, but it still comes out very well. Thanks for sharing

  2. 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.

      1. Ooops! I meant of the anchovy paste. I have a weird paste and I wanted to make sure I didn’t overpower the sauce.

  3. 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

  4. 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

    1. 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.”

  5. Fabulous Lana! We make Puttanesca all the time – it’s so quick and easy and seriously as good as restaurant food! Bravo!

  6. That reminds me of when I was in Italy and went to this tiny tiny little restaurant in Florence. We had something like that. Mmm.

  7. Beautiful photo! Pasta puttanesca is one of my favorite dishes – I think all of the salty elements appeal to my taste buds.

  8. I like this alot! I have all the ingredients to make this next week! Thanks!!

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

  10. 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!