Pasta Puttanesca Recipe (2024)



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Add the crushed red peppers at the beginning, with the garlic and anchovies. It releases the full aroma from the peppers that simply boiling them at the end as the recipe calls for won't do.

Joan Oakland

Sorry, but "using a mortal to crush garlic" is probably my favorite spellcheck correction of all time! Picturing you up on Olympus . . . gotta get that crushed garlic somehow!


"I don't know why people use canned tomatoes." Because most of us don't have easy access to decent tomatoes (i.e., tomatoes that have not been mass produced, bred for shelf life and "perfect shape" rather than flavor, and picked green) The tomatoes used in good quality canned tomatoes are far superior to the cardboard tomatoes sold in most supermarkets.


Anchovies in a jar allow you to take 2-3 or 6 out and then place in the refrigerator. The oil will solidify, but just warm some water in the microwave and then put the jar in the water, the oil will liquefy and you can extract as many filets as you desire. Refrigerate.

Mike Bee

Many years ago my Neopolitan (Nab-lee-dahn) grandmother quietly asked me to call it 'pasta ala malafemmina,' wanting me to be a proper young man, of course.


A recipe for the faint of heart. You need to double the anchovies and olives, and quadruple the garlic, at least (which are also delicious sliced thinly). No onion; no wine; no omissions (certainly not the anchovies and olives, which are the essence of the sauce). Simmer at super low heat, half covered, for 30-40 minutes, until it thickens.Delicious.


Added onions and left out the olives??? That would not be salsa alla puttanesca! And the olives should be the black olives from Gaeta, just squeeze on them a bit with your fingers and the pit will pop out.


I do a variation of this recipe from the, "Italy Today" cook book. It is very similar however the anchovies come into the pan with a large (almost whole) bunch of chopped parsley after the tomato sauce has cooked down for a while. I had the real Pasta Puttanesca in Naples once and this recipe comes the closest to recreating what I had there. If you leave out the olives and add onions you have gone off track. It might be good, but it is not Puttanesca.


I use anchovy paste from a metal tube, with great results and no waste.


If your children are reading the Series of Unfortunate Events, they may be interested in cooking this with you... Pasta Puttanesca is cooked by the children in one of the earlier books.

Joe in Brussels

The story goes in Naples that the recipe was adopted by the prostitutes on the habor, because the hot chili Pepper gave them energy and the garlic a bad breath, so that clients would not try and kiss them. ... Se non e vero, en ben trovato.
The Italian friend who taught me the recipe pours a glass of white wine after melting the garlic, chopped onion and anchovies. He then adds lots of fresh Rosemary together with the tomatoes. Serve with fusilli or fusillone rather than linguine.


We've made this Bittman Puttanesca a zillion times. (I'm sure that number is right.) Great recipe. Cooks' notes: 1) My hubby is Sicilian & prefers lightly sauced dishes but this works better with 12 oz pasta. If using 16 oz up tomatoes to 32 oz and other ingredients by a third. 2) Tomatoes need longer cooking in step 2 to right break down. 3) Leave pasta al-dente enough to finish it, not just toss it, in the sauce. 4) Good room temp too!!


I scooped linguine from the salted water into this sauce and cooked a few more minutes, using a bit of the cooking water to add and thicken dish. Very good; thanks!

Anne Bell

I pulsed the can of can of tomatoes in my food processor about 7 times, cut the olives (make sure you use kalamata!) in half lengthwise, roughly chopped the capers, and chopped about 5 or 6 anchovy fillets before mixing with the garlic. Go very easy on the salt as you have a lot with the anchovies and the kalamata olives. This is the best puttanesca I have tasted.


I lived with three chefs in Sicilia for a summer. They took turns cooking at resorts in Waikiki in my home state of Hawai’i--then flew home to tend farm of black olive trees, grape vines, lemon trees (lemons the size of grapefruits), and cactus pears.
I was told to NEVER put onions and garlic in same dish--competing flavors. Just use pasta asciutta--dry noodles. The fresh homemade noodles were an American conceit! Dry noodles were great! Easier to control the tenderness. Al dente.


So easy and super flavorful! My new go to:)

Martin S

Very nice. Definitely increase anchovies, capers and garlic; don’t leave out juice from canned tomatoes (use whole can, but don’t water). Do let sauce cook for 10-15min before starting the pasta, so it can reduce enough.


Use six anchovies. Increase olives to a cup.


Used 2 fresh tomatoes, instead of cannedUse Kalamata olives, instead of curedUse fresh parsley for herbsKids loved it


Adding extra shredded parmesean really helps with lowering the oiliness if you like it like that.

Toaster Cat

I made a simplified version (no anchovies and used diced canned tomatoes) and it was a hit! Had dinner on the table in 25 minutes and my toddler ate every bite!


Added the olives earlier (and even maybe the capers) and it gave the sauce much more flavor. Also added two cans of tuna toward the end for extra protein.


I added a can of tuna in olive oil for extra protein. Delicious!


12-25-23 last minute as plans with Seays fell thru. Made per recipe…did mince garlic and add to the sauce, one extra anchovy and full amt of oil cured olives. DeCecco linguini. Quite salty so used no additional salt, generous pepper flakes and cut back on salt to,pasta water. Lifted pasta directly into sauce and added a 1/2 c pasta water. Added a lot that much to left overs. Parsley on top. We liked it. Italian Broccoli salad was great with it. Quick. San Marzano undrained just right.


Delicious! I subbed black olives for kalamata (like my mom used to). I wish there was a bit more sauce to pasta ratio, think I’ll use less pasta next time.


Had this tonight. So delicious and easy! Agree that more is better with this. Used 12 oz pasta and it was plenty. More garlic, more olives. Will use even more anchovies and capers next time. Also, use the tomato juice! Will be making this again!


I agree, add more anchovies, olives, and garlic. I also use a can of crushed tomatoes and it works well.


One of my go to quick dinner recipes. I usually up the capers, olives, garlic and anchovies, but I am a salt fiend. I usually use Kalamata olives because that’s what I have on hand.


I make this weekly. One of the simplest and best recipes I’ve ever found. The only slight change I make is that I do not drain the tomatoes before adding. Perfect recipe.


1/2 the pasta, whole can of anchovies, included some of the tomato sauce from the canadded red pepper flakes with the garlic & anchoviesadded 2 Tbs tomato paste to skillet before tomatoes no added salt - anchovies are salty enoughadded roasted eggplant cubesserved with grilled swordfish

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Pasta Puttanesca Recipe (2024)


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