This recipe for Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca is a quick and easy pasta dish for all the family that uses items you can keep in your pantry so it’s easily whipped up in a pinch.
For the perfect pairing, serve with my Homemade Garlic Bread to really fill up your guests!
Spaghetti with puttanesca sauce is an Italian classic. It’s not only delicious, but it can be thrown together in just 15 minutes! What more could you want?
Why This Recipe Works
- Using anchovy paste instead of chopped anchovies keeps things simple and eliminates waste.
- Finishing cooking of the pasta in the sauce allows the spaghetti to be coated well to absorb the flavors.
What does Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca mean?
Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca is loosely translated to ‘Whore’s Pasta’. Not something you hear everyday right?
The legend is that ladies of the night in Italy would cook this up to lure clientele with its aromas. The idea that they would use food to get the interest of the local men is pretty amusing to me, nothing like food to get a man’s attention right?
Adaptions To Traditional Recipes
Traditionally Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca is cooked with tomato sauce with olives, anchovies, and capers.
I used anchovy paste instead of chopped anchovies to keep things simple and it really worked great.
Step By Step Instructions
Start with bringing a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until just undercooked (it will finish cooking in the pan).
While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the garlic for about a minute until lightly browned (being careful not to let it get too dark).
Add the anchovy paste and dissolve into the oil (about 30 seconds).
Add the tomatoes, herbs. stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Reserve some of the pasta water before draining.
Drain the spaghetti and add it to the sauce.
Stir in the olives, capers, and hot pepper flakes and cook until the spaghetti is cooked (adding pasta water to loosen if needed).
This delicious Spaghetti has a tomato-based sauce with a sweet heat tang and robust saltiness that is an amazing combination.
Once you try this recipe, I bet it will make it on to your list of recipes you make again and again.
Other Italian Dishes You’ll Love
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Let’s Make Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons anchovy paste to taste
- 1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- fresh parsley a good handful
- 8 basil leaves chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 cup olives (I used black and Kalamata olives)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta until just undercooked.
- While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the garlic for about a minute until lightly browned (being careful not to let it get too dark).
- Add the anchovy paste and dissolve into the oil (about 30 seconds)
- Add the tomatoes red pepper flakes, and herbs. stir to combine.
- Reserve a half cup of pasta water before draining. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce along with the olives and capers.
- Cook until the pasta is cooked, adding pasta water as needed to loosen.
- Taste and season as needed before serving.
Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted on Mar 12, 2016, but was updated with new photos and step by step photos in January of 2020.