Pasta Puttanesca 

“Pasta con Acciughe, Olive, Capperi e Pomidoro” 


Sauce arrabiata and puttanesca are quickly prepared condiments for pasta.  


The arrabiata is easy to make; pasta arrabiata is characterized by the savor of tomato, the flavorful and abundant hot red peperoncino, chili pepper, and it is blended with the sweet and spice taste of oregano. 


The complex taste of the puttanesca sauce is made by blending anchovies, capers, olives and a hint of pepperoncino; the sauce is reinvigorated by the barely cooked tomatoes sauce flavored with garlic. 

It is easy to make and it is so delicious!  


Much has been said about the name puttanesca and the origin of this popular dish.  


Pasta puttanesca is a rich version of pasta “aglio e olio”, a condiment simply made with garlic fried in olive oil, a “piatto povero”, modest dish popular and intrinsic with the cooking of the South of Italy and of the islands. 

Still by adding a few anchovies, some of the abundantly available black olives and capers and a handful of crushed tomato, a new sauce was conceived: a potpourri of components, a crazy concoction, a puttanata of a sauce, which morphed in puttanesca, and so pasta puttanesca was born!  

Finally depending on the region, un poco, a little or a lot of red pepper is added to give extra gusto to this delicious sauce. 



Photo courtesy Marzia Greco



Serves 4/5 



·        6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 

·        6 salt-packed anchovy fillets 

·        1 can 28 oz. imported peeled tomatoes 

·        1 cup pitted and halved black olives  

·        2 tablespoons drained capers 

·        1 lb. spaghetti or penne 

·        ½ cup chopped parsley  

·        1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes 






The Anchovies  

Rinse the anchovies under running cold water to eliminate the salt and soak in cold water for at least one hour before you drain, pat dry, and coarsely chop them. 



The Sauce 

In a large pot, combine the oil, garlic, and anchovies, and cook over medium heat, stirring for about 4 minutes or until the anchovies have smashed down. 

Crush the tomatoes using a potato masher, add the tomatoes and its juice right into the pot and increase heat to high. When the sauce comes to a boils, lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 


The Pasta 

In a large pot, bring 5 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt, to a boil. 

Cook the pasta al dente; drain and reserve 1 cup of water. 


The Assembly 

Toss the cooked pasta into the pot with the sauce, add ½ of the parsley and the hot red pepper flakes. Over a low heat, toss for about 2 minutes, until pasta and sauce are well combined; add some of the reserved water if needed. Separate into individual portions, garnish with the remaining chopped parsley and equally divide any sauce left at the bottom of the pot. 

Serve immediately and on the side offer a bowl of hot red pepper flakes.


Pasta Puttanesca