Puttanesca Sauce

puttanesca sauce

Puttanesca sauce

This is a really simple pasta sauce to make and all five members of my family love it – no easy feat! It’s great served with spaghetti, although you can use any sort of pasta.  The main ingredients are tomatoes, capers, olives and anchovies, so it’s got a lovely tangy taste.  It originates from southern Italy and means ‘whore’s sauce’.  This recipe serves four people.

1 onion – finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic – chopped
5-6 anchovy fillets – chopped
1 small red chilli – deseeded and finely chopped or 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoons capers – rinsed and drained
1 tin black olives – pitted, quartered
400g tinned tomatoes – chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley – chopped
Spaghetti or other pasta


  • HEAT the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • ADD the garlic and anchovies and cook until the anchovies soften to an almost paste-like consistency.
  • ADD the chilli, capers, olives, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • WHILE the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta.
  • DRAIN the cooked pasta into a colander.
  • TOSS the sauce together with the hot pasta either in the pan or in your own bowl.
  • DECORATE with chopped parsley and any retained olives and capers.

Tip: If you want a smoother sauce, you can just whizz everything up in a food processor or use a hand-held blender once you’ve made it.


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