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Easy Spaghetti Puttanesca Recipe

Made from pantry staples this recipe for Spaghetti Puttanesca is an easy and convenient dinner for the whole family! Made from mostly canned goods this comfort food can be on your table in about 20 minutes!

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skillet on a table full of puttanesca pasta garnished with olives and parsley

Easy Pantry Puttanesca Pasta

Pasta Puttanesca is one of those perfect pantry meals that you are able to make in a pinch. So much so in fact I always ensure I have the ingredients some where in my pantry, and once I make it I make sure to restock!

The origins of puttanesca are humble, the story goes that it was invented by an Italian chef who was asked by a wealthy patron to make a dinner after the restaurant’s kitchen was already closed for the evening. So the chef took simple pantry ingredients to whip up a quick yet delicious pasta for his guest.

I think that story yes relates well to when I usually make spaghetti puttanesca for my family…

I usually haven’t been to the store so the fridge is empty, I am tired, and don’t feel like working to hard to get dinner on the table.

So my version of pasta puttanesca varies just slightly off tradition but not a lot! I did just a few tweaks to make the dish ‘saucier’ and a more rounded out flavor.

Basically I just switched out the traditional white wine for red wine, giving it a more rounded and not as sharp flavor. And I prefer using kitchen ready tomatoes aka ground tomatoes to give it a more saucy flavor instead of the traditional diced tomatoes.

My family basically inhales this dinner! So let’s get cooking and see what else you need in this delicious pantry pasta!

a fork spiraling some spaghetti puttanesca in a large skillet garnished by parsley

Pasta Puttanesca Recipe

For this recipe you will need:

  • Tinned Anchovies Fillets in Oil – These come in little 2oz tins in the canned fish/meat section of the grocery store. I like to use the oil that comes with the anchovies for cooking but you can always just add more of your own olive oil if you don’t want to do that. You can use a big squeeze of anchovy paste if that’s what you have!
  • Garlic – Probably the item most likely not to be in your actual pantry. You can use fresh minced garlic from cloves or pre-minced garlic from a jar. In a pinch I have also used a dash of dried minced garlic from my spice cabinet when I wanted to make this but didn’t have fresh garlic (but if you do this only used about half of the amount as you wold fresh garlic).
  • Olive Oil – The higher quality the better in a dish like this!
  • Black & Green Olives – You can sub out Kalamata olives for one of the varieties if you would like! I half mine to make it easier to eat.
  • Capers – If you haven’t cooked with capers before, capers are actually immature flower buds from a caper bush. They are pickled in a brine and bring out such a fun pop of lemony salty goodness. They are often found next to the olives in grocery stores in small jars. You will want to drain the liquid from the jar before using.
  • Kitchen Ready Tomatoes – You will want the large 28oz can for this recipe. Kitchen ready tomatoes are stone ground tomatoes which are a perfect consistency for a quick sauce, they are chunky enough for good texture but also ground down enough to make a good sauce. In a pinch you can used other types of canned tomatoes like diced tomatoes or even whole canned tomatoes squished into pieces.
  • Red Wine – Any variety here will do, so use what you like. I often will use a red blend for a nice rounded out flavor. Plus bonus you will know exactly what wine to pair with dinner! (Also for those of your concerned the alcohol does boil out)
  • Spaghetti – I use a whole one pound box, it is just the right amount for how much sauce is made.

I will note that if you like a little heat in your dishes a dash of red pepper flakes would be a good addition!

Layout of all of the ingredients needed for Spaghetti Puttanesca including wine, spaghetti, tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies, oil, and garlic

Making Spaghetti Puttanesca

First you will prep the water for the spaghetti. In a large pot bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling add a few dashes of salt and add the spaghetti. Cook to al dente about 8 minutes.

Now while the water is heating up start the sauce.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat drain the oil from the tin of anchovies and add the olive oil, heat until shiny and hot.

Roughly chop the anchovies. Add the anchovies and garlic to the skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until super fragrant but making sure not to burn the aromatics.

Next you will deglaze your skillet with the wine (make sure there are no yummy brown spots on the bottom).

Add in all the olives, capers, and tomatoes. Cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. About 8-10 minutes while the pasta cooks.

When pasta is done reserve about a cup of the pasta water just in case the sauce is too thick, then drain pasta.

In the large pot you used for the spaghetti toss the sauce and pasta together. (It is was cleaner to do it in the pot than the skillet!) Add in a little of the reserved pasta water if needed (it doesn’t always need it).

Serve immediately! Garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.

a large skillet with spaghetti Puttanesca garnished with parsley

Does the anchovies make Puttanesca taste fishy? What does puttanesca taste like?

Nope! Not fishy. Puttanesca is strong on the Unami and salty flavor profile. The anchovies definitely bring a Unami flavor to the dish but it does not taste fishy, so even people who don’t care for fish would still like this dish!

What to serve with pasta puttanesca? What can I eat with pasta besides salad?

My first instinct is obviously salad with pasta like a Ceasar Salad or my Simple Spinach Salad.

But if you are looking for something else I would recommend roasted vegetables. My Oven Roasted Broccoli would are great with this pasta dish as well as my Roasted Baby Potatoes!

Does Puttanesca keep well? How do I reheat it?

Because this does makes such a large quantity it is likely you might have some leftover. And it does reheat well if you know the best trick to reheating pasta!

Add liquid! Before you reheat any pasta dish in the microwave always add in some water, even better if you have enough foresight save some of the reserved pasta water.

Now you don’t want to saturate the pasta in water but get a good coat over the pasta noodles and the spaghetti will heat up without drying out!!

So I usually will splash a plate with water give it a little stir and microwave it 2-3 minutes depending on the amount. Hopefully this hack will change your life! (maybe a bold statement but you should definitely try it)

close up of pasta twirled into nests inside of a large skillet garnished by olives and parsley

Looking for more pasta dishes? You might like these:

skillet on a table full of puttanesca pasta garnished with olives and parsley

Pasta Puttanesca

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Made from pantry staples this recipe for Puttanesca is an easy and convenient dinner for the whole family! Made from mostly canned goods this comfort food can be on your table in about 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 2oz tin fillet anchovies + oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic OR 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup black olives, halved
  • 1 cup green olives, halved
  • 1 3.5oz jar capers, drained
  • 28oz can kitchen ready tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 16oz box spaghetti

Instructions

  1. In a large pot bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling add a few dashes of salt and add the spaghetti. Cook to al dente about 8 minutes.
  2. While the water is heating up start the sauce. In a large skillet over medium-high heat drain the oil from the tin of anchovies and add the olive oil, heat until shiny and hot. Roughly chop the anchovies. Add the anchovies and garlic to the skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Deglaze your skillet with the wine (make sure there are no yummy brown spots on the bottom). Add in all the olives, capers, and tomatoes. Cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. about 8-10 minutes while the pasta cooks.
  4. When pasta is done reserve about a cup of the pasta water just incase the sauce is too thick, then drain pasta.
  5. In the large pot toss the sauce and pasta together. Add in a little reserved water if needed (it doesn't always need it). Serve immediately, garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 1125mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 7g

Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.

Did you make this recipe?

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Peace & Love

Lauren, The Schmidty Wife

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