Fresh Puttanesca Sauce is a classic Italian pasta dish. An easy-to-make homemade tomato sauce flavoured with olives, capers, anchovies, and lots of fresh tomatoes.
If your house is anything like ours, pasta is a staple. I could almost make it every night for dinner and I would hear no complaints. This is the reason my freezer roasted tomatoes are a must during harvest season.
We all need delicious, easy recipes in our collection. I know I don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen preparing daily meals.
RECIPE and INSTRUCTIONS for this classic puttanesca can be found at the bottom of this post.
Of course, you can never beat a homemade pasta sauce either. We try to eat a few meat-free meals during the week. Meatless sauces are super easy to make, totally delicious, and easy on the budget too.
Have you ever tried making healthier pasta sauces using lentils? You won’t even miss the meat!
Black beluga lentils are used to make a hearty rich sauce containing mushrooms and red wine.
Puy lentils combined with onions, peppers and goat cheese create the perfect sauce for spaghetti squash.
What Is Puttanesca Sauce Made Of?
This classic Italian recipe is made with simple ingredients:
- fresh tomatoes
- black olives
- anchovy paste
- red pepper flakes
- olive oil
A traditional fresh pasta sauce that resembles a tomato, olive caper compote. If you have never tried pasta with olives, you are in for a treat.
Why Is It Called Puttanesca?
This sauce does seem to have a history behind it according to the food historian Jeremy Parzen.
History states that at the beginning of the 20th century, this dish was created for a brothel near Rome. It is often referred to as lady of the night sauce.
Lots of tales are told of this famous sauce:
- Prostitutes made it since it is quick and did not interrupt time away from their business.
- They made it for their awaiting clients.
- Also, tales tell that married women made since it involves less time in the kitchen and more time to visit their secret lovers or paramours.
Making Fresh Pasta Sauce
In under 30 minutes you can enjoy this easy to make puttanesca recipe.
Prepare your ingredients:
- Chop tomatoes and set them aside.
- Chop the garlic cloves.
- Pit and dice the olives, and set them aside.
- Drain the capers and place them in a bowl.
Cook the sauce (see the recipe card for full instructions):
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the olive oil.
- Cook the garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovy paste.
- Add the tomatoes, capers, and olives.
- Cook, toss with your favourite pasta and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
- I used fresh tomatoes in this recipe. If you prefer, you can use canned tomatoes. Something like San Marzano would work great.
- I love Kalamata olives and that is what I used. Greta or Nicoise would be great choices. Feel free to experiment with green olives if you like. The tastes will change, but it will still be delicious.
- If you prefer a spicier sauce, increase the amount of red pepper flakes.
- If you use salt-packed capers, you might want to give them a rinse before using them to reduce the sodium.
- Anchovy paste was used in this recipe. If you prefer to use anchovy fillets that is fine. 1 fillet is equal to about ½ teaspoon of paste.
- Great substitutes for anchovy paste are Worcestershire sauce, Asian fish sauce, and shrimp paste.
- Can you freeze this sauce? YES! Just like any other pasta sauce, it freezes well and lasts for several months.
- Does it taste fishy? No, the anchovies give it a savoury flavour, not fishy at all.
- What is the best pasta to serve with this sauce? Traditionally this is served with spaghetti, but as far as I am concerned there is NO wrong type of pasta.
- If you want to add protein to the meal, grilled chicken, shrimp, scallops or thinly sliced flank steak would be great additions.
- Cheese is always a welcome garnish. Freshly grated parmesan, romano, or asiago would be fantastic.
Still craving some recipes with olives, here are a few to try:
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Tomato Puttanesca Pasta Sauce
- 30 ounces Fresh tomatoes (chopped)
- ⅔ cup Kalamata olives (pitted and chopped)
- ⅓ cup capers
- 1 tablespoons Anchovy paste
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
- ½ teaspoons Red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil (for cooking)
- Black pepper (to season)
- Dice the tomatoes and set aside.
- Chop garlic and place to the side.
- Pit and chop olives, place in a bowl.
- Drain capers and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
- Sauté garlic, red pepper flakes and anchovy paste for about 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, capers and olives.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
- Season with black pepper
- Top your favourite pasta, toss and ENJOY.