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The origins of puttanesca sauce are disputed, but food historians agree it was created in Naples in the mid-20th century. The classic combination of anchovies, olives, garlic, chile flakes, tomatoes, and capers gives this sauce a robust flavor. It comes together quickly, and can be cooked in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips

September 2007


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

40 mins
10 mins
3 cups (enough for 1 pound of pasta)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic, anchovies and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.

  • Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices.

  • Stir in the sugar, basil, olives and capers. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

  • Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper. Discard the basil sprigs and garlic.

Make Ahead

The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.