Puttanesca is a popular Italian pasta sauce known for its robust and bold flavors. The name “puttanesca” is derived from the Italian word “puttana,” which translates to “prostitute” in English. There are several stories about the origin of the name, but one common belief is that the sauce was quick and easy to prepare, making it a favorite among the working women in Italy’s brothels.


Recipe by caion


Prep time


Cooking time



Puttanesca sauce is commonly served with spaghetti or other long pasta shapes. It is known for its intense and tangy taste, with a combination of salty, savory, and spicy flavors. The sauce is a favorite among those who enjoy robust and bold Mediterranean flavors in their pasta dishes.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 4-6 anchovy fillets, chopped or mashed

  • 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (adjust to taste)

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 350g spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)

  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn.
  • Add the chopped anchovy fillets to the pan and stir them around until they dissolve into the oil.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, black olives, capers, and red chili flakes to the pan. Stir to combine.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remember, the anchovies and capers are already quite salty, so you may not need much additional salt.
  • Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente, as mentioned earlier.
  • Once the sauce has thickened slightly and the flavors have melded together, remove it from the heat.
  • Toss the cooked spaghetti with the puttanesca sauce until well coated.
  • Serve the pasta in bowls, garnished with chopped fresh parsley. You can also sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top if desired.

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