Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

"The term "Puttanesca" is derived from "Puttana" the Italian for Prostitute! Originally from Naples and the red light district, the ladies of the night would often prepare a variation of this recipe because it was quick, filling, and delicious."
photo by photo by
photo by
Ready In:




  • Drain tomatoes and reserve liquid.
  • Sauté onion in olive oil until browned, add garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes more.
  • Do not over brown the garlic.
  • Add tomatoes and ½ cup of the reserved liquid, the wine, capers, olives, mushrooms, oregano, and anchovies.
  • Bring sauce to boil, lower heat to simmer and cook uncovered for twenty minutes.
  • If the sauce becomes too dry add more tomato juice a little at time.
  • During the last 5 minutes of cooking time add basil and parsley, finish cooking.
  • Once the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a full rolling boil, add salt.
  • Read package directions for spaghetti to determine cooking time.
  • Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions so that the sauce and spaghetti are finish about the same time.
  • Drain the pasta well.
  • Add pasta to sauce pot, combine and cook for another minute or two.
  • Move spaghetti to service plates.
  • Sprinkle with grated Romano or Parmesan.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
Got a question? Share it with the community!


  1. DONNA W.
    This recipe is awesome! I will be keeping ingrediants on hand to make this often. Thanks for posting.
  2. Pot Scrubber
    I haven't had or thought of this dish in years. Many moons ago I used to have this at a great Italian restaurant in Phoenix. So much better than spaghetti, I think. I hurredly went to the market and got all the ingredients... doubled the recipe... and Dugan and I ate it all in one night. We would put it away and thirty minutes later... we were making another bowl. Added more capers cause we love them and some green olives also. The anchovies really send this over the top. This is one of the top two recipes I have got off 'Zaar. I LOVE THIS DISH!
  3. Luckyone
    Great puttanesca...I liked it better than the one served at my favorite Italian resturant. I love caperts, so I added a little extra. Thanks for a wonderful recipe, Giovanni!
  4. Ravenwing
    very nice - cuz my sig/other likes meat; I added turkey sausage bought at the farmers market. Thank you for the recipe!


Ciao Tutti! Hello everyone! I am a professional chef living in Oregon, USA. I run a personal chef and catering business. I began cooking as a very young child in my nonna's cucina. My nonna was from Firenza, Italia. Cooking is my life and my love. I most enjoy talking with other chefs and sharing recipes to expand the command of the cucina (kitchen). I am currently writing a cookbook entitled, "Culinary Adventures." The cookbook explores delicious recipes from around the world. Send any comments to:
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes