Puttanesca sauce.

Puttanesca Sauce

This Puttanesca Sauce recipe was originally published to my account on Instagram. I have also posted it here so that you only have one place to look to fine all mezze & tapas recipes. My Instagram recipes are not accompanied by a full blown blog post. They often have comments or notes, but not a full post. Find a full list of my recipes here.

A quick and easy sauce to make for pasta is a Puttanesca sauce. It works well with lots of different pasta shapes. I made it with my homemade pasta cut as fettucini. Puttanesca recipe is below and is for 2 – 3 people.

According to Wikipedia, Puttanesca sauce is a relative newcomer to the table of Italian cuisine. Although there are similar recipes dating to the mid nineteenth century, the dish as we know it today originated in Naples in the mid twentieth century.

Some refer to Puttanesca sauce as “whore’s sauce” because of the close relationship between the sauce’s name, and the Italian word for prostitute. I don’t fully buy that explanation, and find it demeaning. I am rather more comfortable with the explanation of the names origin here on this site from the History Channel. Regardless of what you believe the name to mean, I am sure that you will find the sauce a delicious addition to your repertoire.

Puttanesca sauce.

Puttanesca Sauce

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: Caper, Olive, sauce, Tomato
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe


  • 2 TBL extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling.
  • 4 Anchovy fillet
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 TBL tomato paste
  • 1 TBL prepared basil pesto
  • 2 TBL Capers
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olive chopped
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ lb/250 g fresh pasta
  • Parsley to garnish


  • Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat
  • Add onion, garlic, anchovy and pepper as heat until the onions are softened and the anchovies have broken up
  • Add oregano, and mix to combine. Heat until fragrant
  • Add tomato paste and pesto and stir to combine
  • Add capers and olives and stir to heat through
  • Add the crushed tomato and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat, and allow to simmer and thicken up while you cook the pasta
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Be careful not to over salt as the anchovies and olives are already salty.
  • Cook pasta to al dente.
  • If the sauce has thickened too much, add a small bit of pasta water to loosen up
  • Add pasta to the sauce and toss thoroughly to combine and fully coat the pasta
  • Top with a quick swirl of good olive oil and parsley. Serve warm!


TIP: Be sure to use a skillet/saute pan large enough to hold the pasta and sauce. You can start your sauce as the pasta water is heating.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *