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spaghetti alla puttanesca on a blue plate
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Spaghetti alla Puttanesca – tomatoes, olives, capers and anchovies pasta

Super quick to prepare and full of flavor pasta dish that makes a perfect weeknight dinner!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword spaghetti alla puttanesca, spaghetti alla puttanesca recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 645kcal
Author Aleksandra


  • 8 oz spaghetti (225g)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter or olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes or to taste
  • 10 anchovies in oil 0.9 oz / 25g, drained and cut into large pieces
  • 15 black olives (or green olives) seedless and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained and rinsed
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (14 oz / 400g) or tomato passata/tomato puree
  • ½ cup pasta cooking water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar optional*
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley to serve


  • Cook the spaghetti al dente (it should have a bite to it) in a small amount of well-salted water. Reserve about a ½ cup of the pasta cooking water (!).
  • Prepare the ingredients: finely chop the garlic, roughly chop the anchovies, drain and rinse the capers, cut the olives in half. If you're using crushed tomatoes in a can and not tomato passata/puree I recommend mixing the tomatoes until smooth (with blender or hand blender) - this is optional but I prefer a smooth sauce without tomato chunks.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the garlic, chili flakes, and anchovies, cook over medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the olives, capers, tomatoes/passata, and pasta cooking water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes (stirring from time to time) until the sauce has thickened. After this time, season the sauce lightly with salt and pepper. Be careful with adding salt (!), because anchovies, olives, and capers are already salty. Take the pan off the heat.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the pan, toss with the sauce.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!


  • You can also add: a can of tuna (drained, I prefer tuna in olive oil), 1/2 ts of lemon zest, 1/2 ts of dried oregano.
  • Servings: 2 dinner servings or 4 appetizer servings. These are light dinner serving, to make this more filling you can add canned tuna to the dish.
  • How to season the pasta to your liking: I added sugar to my recipe because my tomatoes were a little on the sour side. You can omit the sugar if you wish or add even 1 ts. Add a pich at first and taste the sauce. If it tastes too sour or you feel it lacks 'something' it's probably either lack of salt or sugar. If it turns out too sweet you can add more capers or balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice) to the sauce.
  • Calories count = 1 serving (1/2 of the recipe).


Calories: 645kcal