Pasta Puttanesca with Kalamata Olives and Capers

Pasta Puttanesca with Kalamata Olives and Capers

Pasta Puttanesca is worth every sinfully garlic, salty, and spicy bite!
(and ready in 30 minutes!)

Pasta puttanesca is a tomato-based sauce that is packed with the salty deliciousness of olives and capers. The finish has a spicy kick. This pasta is perfect on a cold day or cold on a hot day. Who am I kidding, is pasta dish is perfect for any day!

This dish is super simple to make and is ready in less than 30 minutes. You can make it for any occasion. However if you make it for your date I am willing to bet you will never be single again. Yep, it’s that good.

Pasta Puttanesca Ingredients (most of them you probably already have)

To make pasta puttanesca you need only 10 – 12 ingredients, depending on your garnish choices.

  • Olive oil
  • Red onion (optional)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic
    • In the recipe, I wrote to use 5 garlic cloves. Honestly, I probably used at least 10. But I really love garlic, probably more than most people. I would adjust the use of garlic to your personal taste.
  • Anchovy paste
    • I used anchovy paste. But if you prefer, you can use canned anchovies. If you choose the canned option, saute the anchovies with garlic, onions, and olive oil. As the anchovy’s cook they will become very soft. Using your spatula mash them up.
  • Diced tomatoes
    • I like my pasta sauce on the drier side so I used one can. If you like your sauce on the wetter side I recommend using two cans.
  • Kalamata olives
  • Capers
  • Pasta
    • Pasta Puttanesca is normally made with medium-sized noodle-like spaghetti. I prefer angel hair so I used that type of pasta. Use the width of noodle you prefer.
  • Basil, parsley, and/or parmesan as a garnish.

Additional Toppings Ideas

This dish is perfect on its own. However, it’s also really good with a variety of toppings. I like mine with shrimp (my husband makes the best shrimp )Here are a few ideas if you want to add to your dish:

  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Chicken
  • Scallops
  • Spicy sausage
  • Salmon

Let’s Get Started

Start by slicing the garlic as thin as you can get it and dice the red onion.

Heat the olive oil in the pan over medium heat and then add the garlic and red onion. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add the anchovies or anchovy paste.

Pasta Puttanesca Saute with Garlic, Red Onion and Anchovy

Saute with Garlic, Red Onion and Anchovy

Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for five minutes, allowing them enough time to blister.

Pasta Puttanesca Saute with Tomatoes
Add the Cherry Tomatoes and Sauté

Add the canned tomatoes.

Shown below is one can of tomatoes. I tend to like my pasta on the drier side. If you like your pasta on the wetter side, add two cans of tomatoes.

Pasta Puttanesca Sauce Cooked
Add the Tomato Sauce and Cook for an Additional 10 Minutes

While the tomatoes are simmering. Cook the pasta according to the instructions, minus two minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the puttanesca sauce. Cook for an additional two minutes.

Pasta Puttanesca Sauce Mixed with the Cooked pasta
Once the Puttanesca Sauce is Complete Toss with the Cooked Pasta

When your ready, plate the pasta puttanesca and garnish as desired. For my garnish I used basil, parsley and parmesan cheese.

Make it a date night and follow my fresh bread
and butterscotch budino recipes for the perfect dinner.

Recommended Products (affinity links)

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca with Kalamata Olives and Capers

Pasta Puttanesca is worth every sinfully garlic, salty, and spicy bite! It's so good that I dare say, make it for your date and you will never be single again!
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp anchovy paste
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 14 – 28 oz diced tomatoes (depending on personal preference)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 pound pasta
  • parmesan as desired
  • chopped basil, parsley, and/or oregano as garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil then add the red onion garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes over medium heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the anchovy paste and mix well.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes become jam-like.
  • Add the olives and capers
  • While the sauce cooks, bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook two minutes less than instructed on the package.
  • Transfer the cooked pasta to the sauce, toss, and to cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Add garnish and cheese as desired.
Keyword Pasta, Pasta Puttanesca, Puttanesca
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!