Puttanesca: how to make pasta puttanesca in under 30 minutes

Puttanesca is a classic pasta dish that's surprisingly simple to make – follow our simple steps for this tasty mid-week meal

puttanesca pasta
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Puttanesca is a classic Italian sauce that's full of flavour – yet surprisingly simple to make. Made predominantly with tinned goods that shouldn't be too difficult to find in your local supermarket, it's best served with spaghetti but could work with other types of pasta if you're short on supplies.

Follow this traditional Italian recipe for an alternate take on tomato pasta. Perfect for an easy week night meal, or served with a glass of red when the weekend rolls around. For more recipe ideas and inspiration, head over to our food hub.

Pasta puttanesca recipe

(Image credit: Getty Images)


  • Vegetable oil, a good glug
  • Shallots, 2
  • Half a red chilli
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Anchovies, 4 fillets
  • Black olives, 2 tablespoons
  • Capers, 1 tablespoon
  • Tin of plum tomatoes
  • Olive oil, a good gluf
  • Fresh (or dried) parsley, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Parmesan, for serving


1. Finely chop your shallots, red chilli, garlic, anchovies, black olives and capers.

2. Add vegetable oil to saucepan. When warm, add your shallots and soften for two or three minutes.

3. Add the garlic, chilli, anchovies, black olives and capers to the pan and cook for a further two or three minutes.

4. In the meantime, blend your plum tomatoes with a hand blender in a separate bowl – or you can just use a sharp knife to chop them finely in the tin or in a bowl. Then, add to the saucepan along with a good glug of olive oil. Leave to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. 

5. At this stage, you should also think about beginning to cook your pasta. Take a look at the cooking instructions to get it al dente. Or if you've used our guide to make your own pasta, use those recipe instructions to get the cooking times right.

6. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, stir your puttanesca sauce into the freshly cooked pasta, mixing the two together thoroughly.

7. Top with parsley, along with a grating of parmesan, if desired. We love a side salad, too.

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