Puttanesca Pasta Sauce

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Puttanesca Pasta Sauce

This is a great, quick pasta sauce to make while your pasta is cooking. The ingredients are typical of Southern Italy and it apparently became popular in the 1960s.There are several theories to explain its name “whore’s pasta”, one being that the ladies who worked in the brothels (state-owned, by the way, in the 1950s) only had one day a week in which to do their grocery shopping. They came up with specialities using ingredients that would always be in the larder. We teach you lots of tips and tricks with store cupboard ingredients during our cooking classes in Tuscany!

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6


  • 1 chilli pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2025 black olives
  • 1 anchovy fillet (optional)
  • 300 ml/10 oz bottled or canned crushed tomato
  • Pinch dried orgeano
  • Olive oil, parmesan cheese


  1. Stir fry the chilli pepper, garlic, capers, anchovy if using and olives in a good swirl of olive oil (1 minute).
  2. Add the crushed tomato and oregano and bring to the boil.
  3. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve with al dente pasta. Add parmesan cheese if you wish.

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