Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a classic Italian dish ready in a few minutes! Perfect for a quick lunch or an easy weeknight dinner.
In our home, we consider ourselves big pasta lovers. I personally, could eat it every day without complaining. The beauty of pasta is that you can create so many different sauces to go with it. One of the classic pasta dishes that I adore is spaghetti alla puttanesca. Basically, it’s a deep savoury rich tomato sauce made with garlic, anchovies, capers and olives. This sauce is a traditional Italian recipe originating from Naples. Although, in the original recipe anchovies were not included, nowadays, they are an important ingredient to put as they add extra savouriness. For this reason, and as I love anchovies, in my recipe here I include them.
If I had to describe this dish, I would say it’s what classifies as Mediterranean taste. In fact, this puttanesca sauce has all the delicious ingredients one can find in most Mediterranean cuisines. To make this sauce, you’ll need:
Crushed peeled tomatoes – fresh or canned tomatoes are the base of this sauce. The tomatoes will absorb and emulsify together with all the salty and savoury ingredients. If using fresh tomatoes it will take a bit longer while cooking, as they will need to burst and release all their juices.
Capers – these delicious little tangy and briny buds add that saltiness the dish needs. If you are using brined capers, you can slightly rinse them to remove some of the excess briny taste. If you are using salted capers, I recommend that you give that a good rinse and make sure that all of the visible salt is removed.
Black olives – use pitted black olives, so to avoid any accidents. In this dish, I use black olives instead of green, as they are more mature thus a bit sweeter and less salty.
Anchovies – even though, they might not be in the traditional recipe, anchovies add that extra umami flavour, which in my opinion makes it taste much better. Do not worry, they won’t leave a fishy taste in your pasta, on the contrary, it will help elevate the dish.
Garlic – for this sauce, there is no need to mince the garlic as we are only going to use it to infuse the oil we cook the sauce in. Placing the peeled whole cloves and letting them cook until golden brown, will release all the yummy garlic flavour in the oil.
Chili flakes (or pepperoncino) – just a little goes a long way here! This pasta dish won’t be spicy, but a sprinkle of chili flakes will give this dish just enough kick.
Olive oil – because what’s a good Italian dish without it? The olive oil here is the base where we will be cooking the sauce. If desired, you can also drizzle some good quality oil before enjoying this dish.
Fresh parsley – this fresh herb is incorporated in the sauce just at the end so that it keeps it’s freshness. You can also sprinkle some fresh parsley before serving.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
- 320 g spaghetti 80g pp
- 400g peeled tomatoes crushed
- 4 fillets Anchovies about 20g
- 15 g capers
- 100 g black olives di Gaeta
- 2 garlic cloves
- 30 ml olive oil
- 1 tsp chili pepper flakes or one pepperoncino diced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- bunch of Parsley chopped
- salt to taste
- Slighlty rinse the capers with water and set aside.
- Over medium heat, add the olive oil in a large pan. Add the whole garlic cloves, anchovies and pepper flakes. Mash the anchovies with a fork so that they start dissolving.
- Add the capers and let everything cook for about 3 minutes. Remove the garlic once it starts to golden.
- Crush the peeled tomatoes and add them to the pan, together with the olives. Stir everything well and let cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot with salted water cook the spaghetti until al dente, according to the instructions on the package.
- Once the pasta is ready, drain it but set aside about half a cup of the pasta water.
- Add the pasta to the pan together with some of the pasta water and chopped parsley. Mix well and let it in the pan for a few seconds until you get a nice luscious sauce. Serve immediately.
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. Please also rate this recipe by double clicking on the stars below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list down below so to receive the recipe updates straight to your mailbox!