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Spaghetti alla Puttanescca
Naples inspired pasta dish with a San Marzano sauce, capers, anchovies, and olives.
I think we can all agree that a solid pasta dish will always win. Whether you’re making traditional bolognese or lasagna from scratch to a simple alfredo linguine. This puttanesca sauce is great for weekday cooking or sharing with someone you love. The first time I made it for others, it was for an Italian-inspired Mother’s Day and the turnout was great.
Fun fact: Puttanesca’s name originates from the term “in the style of the whore” because of its robust smell and the use of fresh anchovies. Happy Women’s History Month, LOL.
You’ll need just a few items for this dish. Start with fresh garlic, pepper flakes, sliced olives, artichoke, and anchovy paste. In my version, I like to add quartered artichokes along with capers for a nice hearty flavor. I like to also use anchovy paste instead of anchovies in oil for taste preference. We’ll sautee and add in San Marzano tomatoes which I like to squeeze with my hands (I wear gloves) to make a nice hearty sauce. When boiling the spaghetti, we’ll use minimum water in the pot so that the pasta water is very starchy. This will help our sauce bind because the starch from the pasta will thicken as it cooks. Not interested in pasta? You can definitely enjoy the puttanesca sauce over sauteed chicken breasts!
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What You Need:
This recipe will make 2 to 3 servings.
5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp of anchovy paste
1¼ tbsp of red pepper flakes
¼ cup capers, drained and chopped
¼ cup green olives, sliced or chopped
2 tsp of Italian Seasoning
1½ cups of canned San Marzano, crushed by hand or potato masher
1 tbsp of Tomato Paste
8 ounces of artichoke hearts, quartered and chopped
8 ounces (225g) dried spaghetti
2 ounces of Parmesan, shaved or grated
Kosher salt, at least 2 tbsp will be used
½ tsp of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 tbsp of Italian Flat Parsley, chopped
What to Do:
Set up pasta water to boil. I like to use a medium saucepan because the less water used during boiling, the higher the starch content in the pasta water. This will help bind our sauce. Lightly salt the water with kosher salt, we don’t want a sour pasta dish.
In a large skillet, heat EVOO and add onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper, and allow to cook until the mixture is fragrant. Be sure not to burn the garlic.
Add in capers, olives, and artichokes, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Once the water begins to boil, cook pasta until it is near al dente. I usually follow the directions on the packaging. It should take around 8 minutes. The pasta will cook in the sauce until it is al dente and soak up some of that delicious sauce.
Slowly add in tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes. Season the sauce with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese as well.
While the sauce is cooking and the pasta is boiling, I like to saute 2 boneless chicken breasts and slice them for the pasta. It makes the dish even more filling.
Once the pasta has cooked, transfer it to the sauce with a pair of tongs. Save about a cup of leftover pasta water.
Add 3 tablespoons of pasta water to the pasta sauce and allow it to simmer. Add more pasta water if you’d like to change the consistency. Don’t worry about the pasta overcooking, it takes a longer time to cook in sauce compared to water.
Serve pasta immediately with more of Parmesan cheese and parsley and don’t forget to tag @elle.thefoodie of course!