Pasta alla Puttanesca

The background of this dish is spicy to say the least. I’m going to give you G-rated version. (Feel free to Google it if you’d like to know more!) The dish originated in Naples, Italy and was named after the local harlots. It was a hearty, quick & easy meal for them to prepare between “meetings”.

The ingredients tended to be very easy to find, and are typically Mediterranean. You’ll find that like most Italian dishes, recipes may differ according to region & preferences. The sauce is slightly salty due to the anchovies & olives & spicy from hot red peppers. So, no additional salt is needed.

It’s basically a toss in what you have kinda sauce. It’s quick & easy and it full of complex flavors. You can serve it with any type of pasta that you have on hand. If you prefer to use an anchovy paste vs. the actual anchovy fillets, feel free.


Pasta alla Puttanesca
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small tin of Anchovies – chopped
6 Whole Roasted Garlic Cloves
4 Cloves of fresh minced garlic
About a dime size of Red Pepper flakes
8-10 Herb Roasted Tomatoes
12 Calamata Olives – pitted & halved
2.5 Tbsp Capers – drained
About 1/3 cup Fresh Italian Parsley – chopped
About 1 Tbsp Fresh Basil – chopped
Fresh Parmegiano Reggiano Cheese to garnish – grated
Pasta of choice

Prepare your roasted tomatoes (you’ll need to remove the skins once the tomatoes have finished cooking) & roasted garlic according to recipes. When done, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the anchovies & garlic cloves. Cook for a few minutes until anchovies are warmed through. Add the red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy, feel free to add more). Cook for about a minute & then add the roasted tomatoes, olives, & capers. Turn heat to low & simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add the minced garlic, parsley (saving a bit to garnish with) basil & butter. Simmer for just a few minutes. About 10 minutes before your sauce is finished, cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta & add to the sauce pan, mix together. Transfer to serving bowl & garnish with remaining parsley & parmigiano reggiano.

Buon Appetito!


  1. 1

    Looks great- this is a favourite dish around our table too 🙂
    Love the style of your blog!

  2. 2

    yum! that pasta looks wonderful!

  3. 3

    I had this at a restaurant in Florida and loved it! Then when I got home I couldn’t remember the name to look up the recipe. Thanks! I will be adding this to my menu planner. Just a question, do the anchovies smell fishy when you open and chop them? I couldn’t taste them in the sauce, but not sure I can handle putting them in myself, maybe hubby could do that part for me!

    • 3.1
      Paula /

      I’m so glad you like it! If you’re worried about the smell & handling the fish you can buy anchovy paste instead! It’s a wonderful alternative & you just squeeze a dab into the pan! Hope that helps! Buon Appetito!

  4. 4

    Looks totally drool-worthy! I did Google it – the name does have rather interesting origins.

  5. 5

    This looks great! I was going to try to make Pasta alla Puttanesca this week (from a recipe I wrote down long ago, but have never tried), and decided against it. Now it’s definitely going on my list of meals for next week!

  6. 6

    This looks delicious! I made a hybrid of puttanesca and con sarde but I’d like to try is as it’s supposed to be – with anchovies. The roasted garlic look great!

  7. 7

    I regularly make Pasta alla Puttanesca and I absolutely love this dish. This is one comforting Italian dish for all of us at home.

  8. 8

    Delicious! I love olives and capers in anything. Anchovies and Parmesan? I’m so there.

  9. 9

    I love puttanesca and this looks wonderful!

  10. 10

    YUM! Will definitely be trying this 🙂

  11. 11
    Demetrius Fowlkes /

    Not since growing up in Aviano, Italy have I seen such a delicious looking dish!! I cannot wait to run to the store and try to replicate one of my favorite pasta meals of all time!! Thanks for posting this Paula.

  12. 12

    Puttanesca is my favorite pasta dish ever! I just wish that other people in my house would be as passionate about it as I am. Normally I reserve puttanesca for the days when I’m all by myself and need a special treat. Your version is absolutely beautiful!

  13. 13

    My daughter and I love puttanesca. We usually use canned tomatoes and minced raw garlic, I will definitely try this version with roasted tomatoes and garlic. Sounds like a fun side-by-side.

  14. 14
    baongoc /

    woa it’s very nice

  15. 15
    Alison /

    i made this the other night and it was INCREDIBLE. used a couple more tomatoes, about 16. thanks for the recipe!

  16. 16
    Anne /

    After reading your recipe and drooling over the picture, I am now CRAVING pasta alla puttanesca. Looks like dinner tonight!


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