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Pasta Puttanesca is possibly the quickest tastiest pasta dish you will ever make.

Posted on April 18, 2016 by in pasta, vegetarian

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Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca literally translated as “spaghetti in the style of a prostitute” is most probably the quickest pasta you will ever make. (Well, maybe my Pesto Pasta is quicker) It is a tangy, somewhat salty Italian pasta dish, dated back to the mid-20th century. I am not sure how this recipe is linked to prostitution, but maybe “salty” and “slightly tangy” have something to do with it.

Pasta Puttanesca is made with ingredients typical to the Southern Italian cuisine, tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic. Although I love the capers and anchovies, many versions of pasta puttanesca exclude either the one or the other. Traditionally, the sauce is served with spaghetti, although it also goes well with penne, bucatini, linguine and vermicelli.

Pasta Puttanesca

I love the fact that this dish is delicious hot or cold. Because their is quite a bit of olive oil in the recipe, the pasts does not stick together when cold. So it makes perfect sense to make a bowl of this over the weekend and enjoy with your braai and then have some leftover for the week’s lunchboxes. If you insist on having a protein with the pasta puttanesca, a grilled piece of yellow tail, grilled chicken or a steak will do just fine.

Just one word of advise, the anchovies and olives are already salty, so be careful when you add seasoning to the dish. Add salt right at the end of the process. We like loads of grated Parmesan on it, but even that is a bastardized version, chopped parsley is the way to go.

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

serves 4 – 6


500 g penne – cooked according to packet instructions

2 cloves garlic

45 ml Olyfberg Olive Oil

1 small jar or 200 ml capers – drained and chopped

250 ml black olives – pitted and roughly chopped

8 – 10 anchovy fillets – chopped

2 red chilies – finely chopped

500 g cocktail tomatoes – you can use canned tomatoes, but I like the texture of using fresh tomatoes

a handful fresh oregano

a handful fresh basil

salt and pepper if needed


Heat a pot on the stove top and add the olive oil. Saute the garlic, anchovies, chillies, capers and olives. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it will add a bitter taste to your dish. Add the tomatoes  and the oregano and reduce the heat. Allow the  pot to slow simmer so that the tomatoes can burst open and release their own juices. If you find your sauce to dry, add a little water or stock. With tinned tomatoes, you will have more liquid than when using fresh.

Once you have a sauce consistency add the pasta and mix. Serve with chopped parsley, crusty bread and parmesan if you must.

Pasta Puttanesca

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5 Responses to “Pasta Puttanesca is possibly the quickest tastiest pasta dish you will ever make.”

  1. Sheena Mathew 30 April 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    My husband was determined to try out your puttanesca recipe as he craved pasta. We had all the ingredients except for anchovies and my long search through every shop in our little town still did not deliver any. I then replaced the anchovies with a tin of smoked oysters and the results were amazing. I have long since had an appetite for pasta, but we have now added your recipe as a regular meal on our menu. Thank you for sharing Nina! This recipe deserves seven stars!!!

    • nerinatimm 5 May 2016 at 1:13 pm #

      Thank you so much!!

    • Teresa 19 December 2016 at 11:28 am #

      Once when I wanted to make Puttanesca I also couldn’t find anchovies so I used tuna it was just as delicious.

  2. This site 21 February 2018 at 12:07 pm #

    This is amazing receipe I`ve to cook this defenetly ! Thank you and I hope I could do it well 🙂

    • nerinatimm 26 February 2018 at 5:31 am #

      I am sure you will. Thank you for the visit!

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