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  • Writer's pictureKevin Dam

"Uncovering the Secret to Perfecting Puttanesca Pasta: A Guide for Pasta Lovers"

Dish name: Puttanesca Pasta

  • Cuisine: Italian

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes

  • Yield: Serves 4

  • Expiration: Best enjoyed fresh, though leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  • Ingredients:

  • 400 grams spaghetti or another long pasta

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)

  • 1 can (400 grams) of whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained

  • 6 anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)

  • Salt to taste

  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for serving)

  • Parmesan cheese, grated (for serving)


  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.

  2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Sauté garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, olives, capers, and anchovies. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

  4. Season the sauce with salt, keeping in mind that the capers, olives, and anchovies are salty.

  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. If needed, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce.

  6. Serve hot, garnished with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

Tips and Tricks for Puttanesca Pasta:

  1. Bold Flavors: Puttanesca is all about strong, punchy flavors, so don't be afraid to adjust the ingredients like capers, olives, and anchovies to suit your taste.

  2. Tomato Selection: Use high-quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor, as they are the base of the sauce.

  3. Anchovies: They add a deep, savory umami flavor; if you're wary of them, try using just a couple of fillets. They dissolve into the sauce and enhance the flavor without adding a fishy taste.

  4. Adjusting Heat: Red pepper flakes can be quite spicy. Start with a little and add more to achieve your desired level of heat.

  5. Capers: If your capers are packed in salt, rinse them before use to prevent the sauce from becoming too salty.

  6. Olive Quality: Use kalamata or another type of flavorful olives rather than bland canned varieties.

  7. Sauce Consistency: If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a bit of pasta water for a slicker consistency that coats the pasta well.

  8. Non-traditional Cheese: While cheese is typically not served with fish dishes in Italy, you can serve Puttanesca with Parmesan if you enjoy the combination.

  9. Freshness: Add fresh parsley at the end of cooking for a fresh, bright contrast to the deep flavors in the sauce.

  10. Pasta Water Magic: The starchy water helps thin out the sauce and allows it to adhere better to the pasta.

putanesca pasta

Puttanesca offers a robust and quick option for a weeknight meal with a punch of Mediterranean flavor. Enjoy your delightful dish!

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