Pasta Puttanesca

This is one of my all-time favorite pasta recipes. This can be made vegetarian by substituting the fish sauce or anchovy paste for some of the caper juice. It has a very salty/savory taste and is much lighter an Italian dish than others that are loaded with tomato sauce and meat.

Pasta Puttanesca

My all time favorite pasta dish! Amazing flavor, complexity and texture. I've often thought this would be a great preparation to serve on garlic bread rounds as an appetizer. Serve with a nice fresh salad and artesian bread. White wine is a wonderful accompaniment, but the flavors are strong enough to shine through a red wine as well. During the summer I've made a version of this recipe using fresh diced tomatoes and chopped fresh basil: Different but no less delightful! Since I LOVE chopping veggies and other ingredients, I chop all the ingredients ahead of time and store in little bowls. Once that's done, the actual cook time goes very quickly. Serves 4-6.
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pasta
Servings: 4 people


  • 3/4 cup dried tomatoes, reconstituted Add to 1 c. boiling water; let steep
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste OR Vietnamese fish sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 cup olives, green & black chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 TB majoram or oregano, fresh
  • 3 TB capers
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lb Linguini cooked al dente


  • In a small bowl, combine boiling water and dried tomatoes; set aside for 5-10 minutes to soften. Start to heat up a large pot of water to cook pasta.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil; add onions & anchovy paste (or fish sauce) and sauté until onions are golden. Add garlic, tomatoes and their water, olives, capers and marjoram or oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, 9-12 minutes until half the liquid has evaporated. Leave the kitchen 1 or 2 times and then return so you can appreciate the fragrance. Add final ingredients.
  • While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta to your preferred doneness.
  • Drain pasta thoroughly then place in a large serving bowl. Toss in sauce ingredients and serve. Buon appetito!

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