Puttanesca Sauce

This is one of those traditional sauce recipes that has been around forever. It is so delicious, that it is often hard to believe how easy it really is to put together. Since all the ingredients come straight out of the pantry, you can make it year round whenever you need to throw something together quickly.

The story behind this pasta is that it was created by street walkers around Naples, Italy after a long evening at work. It was something they could throw together quickly, it was cheap, as well as being both filling and VERY tasty!

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Puttanesca Sauce

Puttanesca Sauce

Yield: Makes Enough Sauce For 1 Pound Pasta
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A traditional pasta sauce from southern Italy that has a vibrant flavor.


  • 1 1/2 Pounds Canned Pureed Tomatoes (Pomi Are My Favorite)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Pound Large Black Olives
  • 3 Anchovies
  • 4 Tablespoons Capers
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Pound Dried Spaghetti or Pasta of Choice


  1. Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan and add the garlic, and cook briefly.
  2. Pit the olives and cut into quarters.
  3. Discard the bones from the anchovies and cut into small pieces.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the oil and garlic, and then the olives, anchovies, capers and tomato paste.
  5. Season with salt & pepper and red pepper flakes.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  7. Use to top spaghetti pasta cooked "al dente".


Cook's Tip: I am not a big anchovy fan so I substitute the anchovy paste you can find in a tube which I feel isn't as strong in flavor as whole anchovies. Despite my dislike for anchovies, this recipe actually just isn't as good without them!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 287Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 413mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Beautiful! I have always loved your photography. I love the new website too. Thank you for years of inspiration Mrs. Mele.


  2. I used anchovy yesterday, but the first time I tried this sauce I was using canned herring. The two fish gave a similar special flavor to the sauce, but the herring was milder. So if someone doesn’t like anchovy, maybe herring can be a good substitute.

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