Pasta Puttanesca

As an Amazon affiliate, and affiliate with other businesses, I earn from qualifying purchases.


I’ve been wanting to make Pasta Puttanesca since I read about it in a book on my way to Blogher Food last year. In Belong to Me the heroine finds comfort in plates of Pasta Puttanesca. The book describes it as a sensual meal, a dish that whores would make to lure men into their bordellos.

A quick internet search yields numerous explanations for the origins of this classic pasta dish, but whatever the origin, this spicy, quick and easy pasta is perfect comfort food. You can throw it together quickly with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and it’s ready to eat as soon as the pasta is done cooking.

I adapted Rachel Ray’s Pasta Puttanesca recipe from The Food Network. Since I’m allergic to fish I omitted the anchovy fillets. I liked her tip to buy olives from the bulk bins at the market because they’re cheaper than buying a jar.

Besides be a terrific meal, it’s just fun to say – Pasta Puttanesca. Give this one a try with those leftover capers from the Chicken Piccata.


Yield: 4-6 servings

Pasta Puttanesca

Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 20 oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 (32-ounce) can diced tomatoes in puree
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, garlic, and crushed pepper. Saute mixture until garlic is tender, about 3 minutes. Add olives, capers, tomatoes, black pepper, and parsley.
  3. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. When pasta is al dente, drain and add to sauce.

More delicious, easy pasta recipes:

Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce Barbara Bakes
Red Pepper, Garlic and Herb Ravioli Barbara Bakes
Pasta with Chicken, Grilled Onions and Sun Dried Tomatoes Vino Luci
Green Bean Pasta with Goat Cheese & Candied Walnuts Cheeky Kitchen

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
originally published February 22, 2011 — last updated July 24, 2019
Categories: Pasta