How to Make Pasta Puttanesca

Want something a little more exciting than spaghetti and marinara sauce for dinner? While simple tomato sauce is a classic go-to for busy cooks who want a filling meal in a short amount of time, it’s not the most exciting option. If pasta is on the menu but you’re looking for something that’ll tantalize your taste buds, why not try pasta puttanesca? This tangy, salty Southern Italian dish is sure to be a new favorite. Here’s how to make it.

Gather ingredients
Of course, you’ll need to start with your favorite type of pasta. The sauce is traditionally served with spaghetti, but it’s also great on penne, bucatini, linguine and vermicelli. If you’re not worried about being authentic, go with whatever pasta shape you want, whether it’s tortellini, rotini or rotelle. For the sauce, gather:

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 28-ounce cans tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste, or a few minced fillets
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 pinch sugar.

Simmer the sauce
When you have all of your ingredients, it’s time to make the sauce first. In a skillet, cook the garlic, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for about two minutes. Add the tomatoes – along with the juice – to a blender and puree. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste to the skillet, along with the olives, capers and sugar. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta
You probably know how to cook pasta by now, but just in case: Boil a pot of salted water and add in the pasta. Cook until it’s almost al dente, or still a bit firm when you bite into it. Drain the pasta when this is done.

Finish and serve
When your pasta is drained, add it into the skillet with the sauce and let it simmer for another two minutes, until it’s al dente. Sprinkle the basil on top, then portion it out onto plates or into bowls. If you’d like add a bit of salt and pepper along with some parmesan cheese.

Have you ever had pasta puttanesca?