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A bowl of pasta tossed with puttanesca sauce.

The Simplest Puttanesca Sauce


Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

If you are sensitive to salt, this may not be the dish for you, but cutting back the quantities of capers, anchovies and olives would reduce the saltiness. Also, a splash of heavy cream never hurts.


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (2 oz.) anchovy fillets, undrained
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 28-oz can San Marzano plum tomatoes
  • 1 jar (2 1/2 oz) or 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup black or kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb. pasta — shapes like campanelle and orecchiette catch all of those yummy bites of capers and olives, but use what you like


  1. Place all ingredients with the exception of the pasta in large pot or wide-mouthed sauté pans. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every so often — you need something like a potato masher or flat-bottomed whisk or wooden spoon to gently crush the tomatoes as well as the garlic cloves every so often. The anchovies dissolve on their own, but the tomatoes and garlic need assistance.
  2. Boil pasta — no need to salt the water — drain, and toss with sauce.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American, Italian

Keywords: pantry, puttanesca, sauce, pasta, simple