Easy and Delicious Pasta Puttanesca Recipe for Flavorful Nights 2024

Pasta Puttanesca is a zesty Italian pasta dish packed with robust flavors. It’s a tangy, savory dish featuring tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, and sometimes anchovies for that extra punch. It’s a burst of flavors—salty from olives and capers, a hint of umami from anchovies, tangy from tomatoes, and a garlic kick. Overall, it’s bold, aromatic, and utterly delicious!

Easy and Delicious Pasta Puttanesca Recipe for Flavorful Nights 2024
Easy and Delicious Pasta Puttanesca Recipe for Flavorful Nights 2024

Recipe Steps: How to Make Pasta Puttanesca


  • 12 oz (340g) spaghetti or pasta of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 oz / 400g) diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup pitted black olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice preference)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley or basil for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


Instructions for Pasta Puttanesca
Instructions for Pasta Puttanesca

Cook the Pasta:

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook it according to the package instructions. Cook until it’s ‘al dente’—meaning it’s firm to the bite but not overly soft.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, carefully drain it using a colander or strainer. Set the cooked pasta aside.

Make the Sauce:

  • Place a large skillet or pan over medium heat on the stove.
  • Pour in the olive oil and allow it to heat up for a minute.
  • Add the minced garlic to the pan and sauté it for about a minute until it becomes fragrant and starts to lightly brown.
  • If you’re using anchovies, add them to the pan now and let them melt into the oil while stirring.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, chopped black olives, drained capers, and red pepper flakes into the pan with the garlic (and anchovies, if using).
  • Stir all the ingredients together thoroughly to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer over medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes. This simmering time allows the flavors to blend and develop.
  • Taste the sauce and, if needed, season it with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper according to your preference.

Combine Pasta and Sauce:

  • Transfer the cooked pasta into the skillet or pan with the sauce.
  • Gently toss and mix the pasta with the sauce until the pasta is evenly coated with the flavorful mixture.

Serve and Garnish:

  • Divide the pasta puttanesca onto individual plates or a serving dish.
  • Garnish the pasta with freshly chopped parsley or basil for a burst of freshness.
  • If desired, sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top for added flavor.

Storing Leftovers:

  • Store any leftover pasta puttanesca in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for up to 3 days.
  • When reheating leftovers, gently warm them either on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave until heated through.

Extra Tips:

  • Adjust the level of spiciness by controlling the amount of red pepper flakes added to the sauce.
  • Feel free to customize the recipe by adding more of your favorite ingredients or omitting any that you don’t prefer.
  • Adding fresh herbs like basil or parsley at the end of cooking elevates the dish’s flavor profile and appearance.

Yield, Prep time and Calories

  1. Yield: This recipe typically serves around 4 people.
  2. Preparation Time (Prep Time): Approximately 10-15 minutes for prep (chopping, mincing, gathering ingredients) and around 20-25 minutes for cooking.
  3. Calories: The calorie count for Pasta Puttanesca can vary based on portion size, ingredients used, and any additional toppings like cheese. On average, a serving of Pasta Puttanesca can range between 300-400 calories per serving, excluding any added cheese or bread.
YieldServes approximately 4 people
Preparation TimeAbout 10-15 minutes for prep, 20-25 minutes for cooking
CaloriesApproximately 300-400 per serving (varies based on portion size and ingredients)
Yield, Prep time and Calories

What to Serve with Pasta Puttanesca

What to Serve with Pasta Puttanesca
What to Serve with Pasta Puttanesca
  1. Simple Green Salad: Prepare a fresh green salad with crisp lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette dressing. The salad’s freshness will complement the bold flavors of the pasta.
  2. Garlic Bread: Bake or toast slices of bread with garlic-infused butter or olive oil. It’s a classic and flavorful accompaniment to pasta dishes.
  3. Grilled Vegetables: Serve grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant as a side. The smoky flavors will balance the tanginess of the pasta sauce.
  4. Steamed Broccoli or Asparagus: Steam some broccoli or asparagus lightly and serve them alongside the pasta. These veggies add a healthy touch to the meal.
  5. Bruschetta: Create a simple bruschetta by toasting bread slices and topping them with diced tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. It’s a delightful appetizer or side dish.
  6. Antipasto Platter: Arrange an antipasto platter with an assortment of cured meats, cheeses, marinated olives, and roasted peppers. It’s perfect for sharing and adds variety to the meal.
  7. Wine Pairing: Pair Pasta Puttanesca with a light-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir or a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. The wine complements the dish’s robust flavors.

Enjoy your delightful pasta puttanesca!

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What does “Puttanesca” mean?

The term “Puttanesca” roughly translates to “in the style of a prostitute” in Italian. The dish’s origin and name have several stories, but it’s known for its bold, flavorful ingredients.

Are anchovies necessary in Pasta Puttanesca?

Traditionally, anchovies are part of the classic recipe and contribute to the dish’s savory flavor. However, you can omit them or use anchovy paste for a milder taste if preferred.

Can I make Pasta Puttanesca without olives or capers?

Olives and capers are key ingredients that contribute to the distinctive taste of Pasta Puttanesca. However, if you don’t have them or prefer not to use them, you can adjust the recipe to suit your taste by adding other ingredients for a similar tangy flavor.

Is Pasta Puttanesca spicy?

The level of spiciness in Pasta Puttanesca can be adjusted based on personal preference. Red pepper flakes are used to add a bit of heat, but you can reduce or omit them if you prefer a milder dish.

Can I use a different type of pasta for Pasta Puttanesca?

While spaghetti is commonly used, you can use other pasta varieties like penne, linguine, or fusilli. The choice of pasta doesn’t significantly affect the taste, so feel free to use your favorite type.

How long can I store leftover Pasta Puttanesca?

Leftover Pasta Puttanesca can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Ensure it’s properly cooled before refrigerating.

Can I freeze Pasta Puttanesca?

It’s best not to freeze Pasta Puttanesca as the texture of the sauce and pasta may change upon thawing. However, you can store the sauce separately and freeze it for up to 1-2 months, then cook fresh pasta when ready to serve.

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