Pasta/ Weeknight/Quick

Weeknight Warrior – My Favorite 30 Minute Pasta Puttanesca

Ah, Puttanesca. There isn’t a clear consensus as to the true origins of this sassy dish, but there does seem to be agreement that it hails from Naples. This is hands down one of my favorite meals and I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe. Why, you might ask?

Pasta Puttanesca is ready in less than 30 minutes, totally achievable using ingredients from your pantry, requires a bare minimum of prep work, and is completely delicious.

My connection to this dish dates back to the early 2000s. I was a vegetarian for an unfortunate number of years (give or take six years?), and my poor mother had to deal with one kid who didn’t eat any meat or fish, and one kid who wouldn’t eat pasta or basically any vegetables. She started making Pasta Puttanesca for me as a quick and easy weeknight meal, but 100% didn’t reveal that it contained anchovies. I can remember coming home after school and soccer practice on chilly fall evenings to an incredible smell in the house and the most comforting dinner.

There is so much flavor in Puttanesca sauce it is honestly absurd. Garlic, chili flakes, anchovy, tomato, capers, olives, herbs, and a good amount of cheese to top. This is a salty, tangy, umami DREAM.

Puttanesca sauce is also great served with chicken or fish. Just cut back on the recipe volume (go with half), and serve with a protein like crispy pan-fried chicken cutlets or grilled swordfish steaks.

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Weeknight Warrior – My Favorite Pasta Puttanesca!

  • Author: Chrissie | Stirs & Stripes
  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This delicious Italian pasta dish is on the table in less than 30 minutes and can be entirely made using pantry staples!



1 lb of pasta, I prefer spaghetti or linguine

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup tomato sauce (optional, but I usually have sauce left in the fridge and this is a great way to use it up!)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1/4 cup capers, drained

12 TBS anchovy paste

1 tsp dried Italian herbs

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more if you like heat)

a big handful of parsley, roughly chopped

fresh grated Parmesan cheese to serve


Set a large pot of salted water to boil.

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat and then cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, red pepper, and herbs, stirring to cook for just 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovy paste, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the parsley, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm on low heat while the pasta cooks.

Cook the pasta according to the package time, then full toss with the sauce.

Top with cheese to serve!


You can really use any kind of briny olives here, when I shot this recipe I ran out of Kalamata but had Castelvetrano green olives on hand to supplement.

Keywords: pasta puttanesca quick easy fast pantry

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