Pantry Pasta alla Puttanesca

Dear wikipedia, thanks for the info… I just googled ‘puttanesca’ to check the spelling and learned ‘alla puttanesca’ mean’s ‘whore’s style’. Well this may not be Stepford Wife style pasta but it was what I have had on-hand and that is usually what we all have to deal with a few ingredients short of a recipe. Pasta alla Puttanesca usually refers to spaghetti but I’m not a huge spaghetti fan. Your ingredients may vary but I think the concept will come across, just think rustic and simple. I’ll provide what I used in the ingredients list and suggest alternatives in parenthesis. I hope you create your own variations and let suggest combinations you like! Quantities are for about 2 people.

Pasta alla Puttanesca

  • 2-3 cups of dry pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2-1 plum tomato, diced (1 tbsp tomato paste or 1/4-1/2 cup of pasta sauce)
  • 1 roasted red pepper, if you used prepared ones it’s about 1/3 a bottle (sundried tomatoes, cannellini beans or more of the plum tomato)
  • 5 black olives, pitted and chopped roughly ( green olives, sundried tomatoes or capers)
  • 1 tsp of oregano (basil or Italian seasoning)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • toasted pine nuts and/or grated parmesan or asiago (optional)


In a large pot add water and salt well.Over high heat bring water to a boil.

Wash and prepare all the vegetables and set aside.

TIP for olives, I like to buy them with pits. If you don’t have an olive pitter, yes the exist and no I don’t have one. An easy way to pit them is to slice them down the middle length wise, squeeze gently to split the olive open. This actions loosens the pit and makes it easy to then pry apart. The pit usually falls out but if not it can be extracted. Also now your olive will lie flat when you are ready to chop them.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook until aldente. Start the sauce while pasta is cooking, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water when you drain the pasta.

In a sauce pan, or fry pan large enough to add all the ingredients heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and herbs cook for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. If youa re using loads fo fresh tomatoe you may ahve to cook this a little longer, you would wnat the tomatoe to break down a bit to help form a sauce.  Add olives and peppers and season with salt and pepper.

Once veggies are tender, add 1/2 cup of pasta water and the cooked hot pasta. Heat through for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with or without cheese and or toasted pinenuts.


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