Puttanesca Recipe

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My one pot Puttanesca Recipe makes an out-of-this-world pasta dish that you will never forget. There’s almost no work required, even for the sumptuous puttanesca sauce. Just dump your ingredients in and let your stove do the rest!

titled: One-Pot Pasta Puttanesca


Puttanesca Recipe

Tired of the same ol’ spaghetti week after week? Enjoy another Italian classic that’s bursting with briny flavors and just the right amount of heat.

Spaghetti alla puttanesca features olives, capers, and anchovies as a delicious way to feature the best coastal flavors.

The Italian word puttana is the base for puttanesca meaning “in the style of a prostitute” — quite an interesting fact to entertain your dinner guests with, no?

Keep them talking over a Panzanella or Burrata Caprese Salad while you whip up this one pot puttanesca.

It couldn’t be much easier since the pasta cooks right in the sauce and absorbs all of that deliciousness!

measured ingredients for puttanesca recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Tomatoes – You’ll need both crushed tomatoes and whole peeled tomatoes for this puttanesca recipe. Stick with cans to save tons of prep time!
  • Anchovy Paste – I prefer this to actual anchovies, especially for sauces.

    It’s easier to handle, leftovers can be stored easily, and it’s not as offputting to those who are generally opposed to eating anchovies.
  • Black Olives – Look for pitted whole olives for this one pot pasta recipe. For a more authentic flavor, use Kalamata olives instead!
  • Red Pepper Flakes – This dish is just spicy enough to make your tongue tingle. For a very mild sauce, reduce the red pepper flakes to 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Noodles – I prefer to make my one pot puttanesca with fettuccine, but linguine or spaghetti are excellent alternatives.

    If you choose to use fresh pasta in this recipe, cut the water to 1/2 cup.
stirring garlic, anchovy paste, and red pepper flakes in skillet

How to Make Puttanesca Sauce from Scratch

It only takes a few minutes and a handful of quality ingredients to make a restaurant-worthy version of this famous sauce!

Since we’re cooking our noodles in the same pot, it comes together quickly.

  1. Heat olive oil in a deep skillet until it starts to shimmer.
  2. Add minced garlic, anchovy paste, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir until coated, then cook until the garlic becomes fragrant and starts to brown.
  3. Pour canned tomatoes into the pan along with olives and caper.

    Break up the whole tomatoes and olives with a wooden spoon, then stir until everything is well combined.
crushed and whole peeled tomatoes in skillet

One Pot Pasta Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Prevent sticking. Instead of stirring the fettuccine with a spoon, gently twist the noodles with tongs once or twice as they cook.
  • Add some protein. This puttanesca recipe is a great way to use up leftover chicken! You can also drain a can or two of tuna and stir it right into the sauce.
  • Reduce the acidity. Stir a small sprinkle of sugar into the sauce before adding the pasta.

    Or, use San Marzano tomatoes! They are a special variety known for their sweetness and low acidity.
stirring olives and capers into tomato sauce

Storing and Reheating Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Allow the dish to cool, then transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.

Reheat leftovers in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each until warmed through.

Or, warm a drizzle of olive oil and about a tablespoon of water in a skillet on the stove. Add leftover puttanesca and toss until warmed through.

dry fettucine and puttanesca sauce in skillet

One Pot Puttanesca FAQ

What is puttanesca sauce made of?

First, olive oil is deeply flavored with red chili pepper flakes, garlic, and briny anchovy paste. Then, you build the puttanesca sauce with sweet, acidic tomatoes.

The richly aromatic tomato sauce becomes extra spectacular with the addition of lemony capers and ripe black olives.

Can I make this puttanesca recipe ahead of time?

The best way to meal prep this one pot pasta recipe is to divide the steps.

Prepare the sauce a day or two in advance, then cool and store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Either continue the recipe by combining with the water and pasta as directed. Or, cook the noodles separately and toss with warmed sauce before serving.

What is the pasta puttanesca meaning?

It’s thought that this dish may have been invented at one of the bordellos in Naples as a quick meal to eat between clients.

Others claim that since puttana is often a general use swear in Italy, there’s a much less salacious puttanesca meaning — along the lines of throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot.

fork twirled in pasta puttanesca

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close up: pasta puttanesca in white bowl

closeup of one pot pasta puttanesca

Easy Pasta Puttanesca Recipe (25 Minute One Pot)

Donna Elick
This Puttanesca Recipe puts a unique twist on a classic dish. Make one pot puttanesca for an out of this world pasta dish you won't forget!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 6 – 8


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 14 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup whole pitted black olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 pound dried fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped


  • In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, anchovy paste, and crushed red pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is golden brown.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes, undrained whole peeled tomatoes, olives, and capers. Use a wooden spoon or fork to roughly break up the whole tomatoes and olives.
  • Stir in 2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Add dried pasta to the skillet, using tongs to gently work the pasta into the liquid until submerged.
  • Cover and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring twice during cooking, until pasta is al dente.
  • Serve in bowls, with additional basil or parmesan, if desired.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 434cal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 636mg | Sugar: 9g | Fiber: 6g | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 4mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): one pot pasta puttanesca

Originally published May 2018, updated and republished August 2023

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  1. I noticed in the body of your blog you mentioned using dried Italian Seasoning, but don’t see any mention of it in the actual recipe. Could you tell me how much, please? Recipe sounds good.

  2. 5 stars
    This was such an interesting and delicious dinner, and it was so easy to make all in one pot! I will be making this one again soon!

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