Spaghetti Puttanesca

"This is a great sauce when you have a yen for a lot of flavor. It can be made in the time it takes to cook the spaghetti noodles. From Fine Cooking, Spring 2002."
photo by alarra photo by alarra
photo by alarra
Ready In:




  • Mix garlic with 1 tablespoon water in small bowl and set aside.
  • Bring 4 quarts of water to rolling boil in large pot.
  • When water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta; stir to separate pasta.
  • Heat oil, garlic mixture, red pepper flakes and anchovies in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Cook stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant but not brown.
  • Stir in tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.
  • Cook pasta until done.
  • Drain and then return pasta to pot.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juice and toss to combine.
  • (You can also add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil if you like) Stir capers, olives and parsley into the sauce.
  • Pour sauce over pasta and toss to combine, adding more tomato juice to moisten if necessary.
  • Adjust seasonings to taste and serve immediately.

Questions & Replies

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  1. HeatherFeather
    I am usually a fan of Puttanesca sauces, so I was very excited to try this version. I found it to be very easy to prepare and is a very hearty, thick sauce. However, I found the taste to be a bit too sour/tangy and also the heat from the red pepper was way too intense, it seemed to overwhelm the flavors - I mainly tasted heat and olive. Not a bad sauce, but this didn't go over well with my family. I am sorry -I really thought we would love this one.
  2. chia2160
    this dish is one of my favorite pastas, and this is a simply delicious way to make it. i wouldn't change a thing. thanks for the recipe, it's a keeper
  3. Miraklegirl
    I left off the capers and used a spicy tomato sauce in place of the diced tomatos. I enjoyed it- it was different and really tasty over angel hair. Thanks!
  4. Sudie
    This is one of my favorite sauces when I go to an Italian restaurant, and this recipe is every bit as good as the best I've had out! Thankfully, DH loved it just as much as I did, if not more, so I will make this often. I made it just as written, although I got a little over-zealous with the pepper flakes (my fault) - I think 3/4 tsp. would be the perfect amount for us. Thanks!
  5. mianbao
    This made a lovely dinner for me tonight. And quick and easy, too! I scaled the recipe to make one serving, but may have overestimated the amount of pasta. I needed to add more anchovies and red pepper after I tasted it. That was all I needed to do. It's delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us.


  1. Miraklegirl
    I left off the capers and used a spicy tomato sauce in place of the diced tomatos. I enjoyed it- it was different and really tasty over angel hair. Thanks!


I live in the San Francisco area and love it here. I discovered Recipezaar (then Kitchen) in 2001 and have been so happy to have my favorite recipes stored safely here. I am mother to 7 and grandmother to 7. I love to knit, smock, sew, etc., but my favorite hobby of the moment is traditional rug hooking. This is a sample of what I do.? It's called "November".? I dyed most of the wool myself. It is made from wool flannel, cut into strips a little less than 1/4" and then worked into a linen backing. This is my 3rd rug.
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