Pasta Puttanesca ( the Madame's Pasta )

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins

I would rather have a plate of this over spaghetti any day. In the absence of a tomato sauce... the flavors really stand out. This dish originated in the red light districts of Italy when the ladies of the night needed a quick and cheap meal after a long nights work "at the office."

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Sauté onions, garlic, and pepper flakes in the olive oil for about two minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add tomatoes and half of their juices, sugar, wine, fresh parsley, olives, capers, anchovy paste,(or anchovies)and Italian seasoning.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding more reserved juice if it becomes dry. Break up large chunks of tomatoes but please leave a chunky consistency, we're NOT making spaghetti!
  4. While this is simmering, prepare spaghetti until done and drain.
  5. Sauce should be ready now so combine pasta and sauce and toss well.
  6. Top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Most Helpful

Delicious! Left out the anchovies. Came out great! I had to make it twice (won't go into why) once using half red and half white wine and once using all red. I think I liked the combo better than all red. It was a little lighter and brighter. Both versions were great. Thanks for posting.

Lucky in Bayview November 30, 2011

Wow! Great recipe. Very versatile and adaptable too, whatever veggies or meat that is on hand can be used. Made it (the first time) just as stated with the exception that I couldn't find any anchovy paste so I used a small can of anchovies.
Again, great recipe! Thanks for posting.

Chef Dudo June 03, 2011

This is the perfect puttanesca. It is just like my own recipe except for the green onions. I used chopped sweet onions. The wine is a great addition. The only thing I do add is some chopped kale. The bitter greens seem to bring out the other flavors and, yes, it is healthier. Don't need an additional vegetable either on the side.

Ivy Food Sleuth August 09, 2010