Italian Pasta Puttanesca Recipe (with Anchovies, Olives and Capers)

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This Pasta Puttanesca Recipe uses spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, chili, black olives, and capers to result in an Italian delight!

A white plate of spaghetti topped with puttanesca sauce, chopped parsley, and parmesan cheese. Text overlay says"How to Make Pasta Puttanesca". Similar photos of the recipe from various angles are used throughout but with different text overlays unless otherwise described.

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Pasta Puttanesca Recipe

The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required and understand the steps and timings involved.

This pasta dish was invented in Naples in the mid-20th century, but in different regions, the ingredients may slightly differ. In fact, it is the Lazio version that uses anchovies and not Naples! And if you’re worried about the addition of the tiny fish fillets, don’t be nervous about the use of anchovies in this dish, they bring so much savory flavor!

But if you really don’t like the idea of anchovies in your spaghetti, then you can still follow the pasta puttanesca recipe here, but just leave that part out, after all, the Neapolitan version is prepared without anchovies.

I love this dish because it’s so easy to make and it has such a great flavor! Give it a try!


Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe

While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients (and equipment) needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon or other stores if available online.

It does not include staple ingredients such as oil, salt, sugar, etc., as you’re likely to have those in your kitchen. The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found in the recipe card.

  • Fresh ProduceFlat Leaf Parsley, Garlic, Red Chili Pepper
  • DairyParmesan Cheese
  • Anchovies
  • Black Olives
  • Capers
  • Canned Crushed Tomatoes – crushed tomaotes are somewhere between tomato sauce (passata) and chopped tomatoes. In the UK look for Passata Rustica which is essentially the same thing as crushed tomatoes. It amazes me how even some simple ingredients are different the world over, and a problem I run into as an international blog!
  • Spaghetti

Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. Please note, you can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).

Italian Pasta Puttanesca Recipe

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One of the hero ingredients in this dish is pasta, so here are some more recipes using the same:

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Looking for more Italian dishes to make? Check these recipes out next:

Italian Pasta Puttanesca

Recipe Tips

  • The anchovies, olives, and capers are naturally salty, so be careful with how much salt you add to this recipe!

How Do I Make Pasta Puttanesca?

Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.

Pasta Puttanesca Recipe

Pasta Puttanesca

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Pasta Puttanesca Recipe uses spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, chili, black olives, and capers to result in an Italian delight!


  • Sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz (50g) can anchovies
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded and diced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 (18-oz/500g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lbs (450g) spaghetti
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped + extra for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Fill a large pot with water and season with a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the anchovies, garlic, and red chili pepper. Season with salt* and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine.

    Anchovies and Chilies in Pan
  3. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the anchovies begin to disintegrate. Add the olives, capers, and crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Adding Olives and Capers to Pan

    Adding Crushed Tomatoes to Pan
  4. In the meantime, prepare the spaghetti according to package instructions. When finished cooking, reserve ¼ cup of cooking liquid before draining the spaghetti.
  5. Add the reserved cooking liquid from the spaghetti to the sauce, along with the fresh parsley. Stir to combine and simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.
  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately with the cooked spaghetti. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and additional parsley, if desired. Enjoy!

    Pasta topped with Puttanesca Sauce

    Pasta Puttanesca topped with Parmesan & Chopped Parsley


  • *The anchovies, olives, and capers are naturally salty, so be careful with how much salt you add to this recipe!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 823mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 9g

This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.

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Make It A Full Meal

You’ve made the main dish, but what about the rest of the courses?

Here are additional recipes to make a full meal for a dinner party or special occasion:

There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too.

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