Puttanesca Sauce

Puttanesca sauce, most often employed for pasta, originated in Naples.  It is made from tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, onions, garlic, and herbs, usually oregano and parsley but sometimes also basil.  It is an easy sauce, briefly cooked, and is very fragrant and spicy.

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Puttanesca Sauce

Puttanesca Sauce


  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 oil-packed anchovies, rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon capers rinsed; drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • Basil leaves, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovies, mashing with a wooden spoon.

    Puttanesca Sauce with Pasta

    Puttanesca Sauce with Pasta

  2. Cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and their juices, roughly cutting with kitchen shears or breaking up tomatoes with hands.
  4. Stir in capers, and olives.
  5. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Let simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add your favorite pasta to skillet; toss to combine, and serve garnished with basil, if desired.

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