Posted by on Jun 25, 2012 in | 7 Comments

If you are in the mood for bold salty flavors, make this Puttanesca sauce.  Puttanesca is a spicy tomato sauce, kicked up with anchovies, lots of garlic, capers, oregano, and olives.

It is often served over long strands of steamy pasta, but if you are limiting your carbs this sauce is delicious spooned over seafood, too.  I love it with salmon, halibut, and shrimp.

And remember, you have to use the anchovies. They melt into the oil and disappear, you’ll never know they’re there, but they add a salty depth to the dish that will not be achieved otherwise.

Pasta alla Puttanesca
Serves 4 as a main course

1 lb. spaghetti or linguini (I use RP’s Fresh Gluten-Free linguini from Whole Foods, it is amazing)
1/4 cup olive oil
6-8 anchovy fillets, about 1 Tbs. (or use anchovy paste)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs fresh oregano or basil, chopped
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
2 Tbs capers, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup kalamata or green olives, pitted and sliced

Parsley, for garnish
Parmesan Cheese, for garnish

Place 4 qts of water to boil with 2 Tbs salt.

In a large saute pan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add anchovies and pepper flakes and saute until anchovies dissolve, about 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and saute another 30 seconds, until garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes with their juices, crushing up the tomatoes with your hands as you dump them in. Mix in capers and olives. Bring sauce up to simmer and simmer 20-25 minutes. Tomatoes will break down and sauce will thicken.

There should be no reason to salt the sauce, but taste it at the end to see if it needs anything. I sometimes add a pinch of sugar if the sauce is too acidic, and a few grinds of black pepper, too.

Place pasta in boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain. Place pasta in large bowl and toss with finished sauce. Garnish with parsley and parmesan, if desired.



  1. Cassie (bake your day)
    June 25, 2012

    Your site is adorable. So glad to be here. This pasta sounds perfectly flavorful!

    • Jessie
      June 25, 2012

      Thank you Cassie! I love your site! Want to eat everything on it!

  2. Marisa
    June 25, 2012

    Jessie…. how about rice pasta? Is there a certain brand you prefer and/or any tips for preparing rice pasta?

    • Jessie
      June 25, 2012

      Yes, I like Tinkyada brand rice pasta. The texture is very good and it is easy to cook. Look on the box for the cooking directions, as it varies by style of pasta. You could also serve this with spaghetti squash. Yum!

  3. Emily Draper
    June 30, 2012

    Not your standard pasta-This pasta is fabulous! Jessie invited me to dinner last Saturday and she made this pasta! It was beyond yummy! The sauce was a real treat! I not only cleared my plate, I went back for more! Loved the olives!

    • Jessie
      August 19, 2012

      I think we need to have this dish again soon! xox

  4. Marisa
    October 25, 2012

    FYI..I’m making this again this weekend. If it wasn’t already 10pm -I’d make it tonight. So yummy!!!


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