If you’re looking for some dinner inspiration, allow me to tempt you with this fresh tomato pasta puttanesca. The tomato based puttanesca sauce is made from pantry staples like anchovy fillets, capers, and black olives. And it gets tossed with al dente pasta (any variety will work) for a classic Italian pasta dish the whole family will enjoy!
Summer Tomato Pasta Puttanesca
We’ve always been pasta people. But now that we have a baby? We’re HARDCORE pasta people. Obviously we love carbs… but more importantly, we love easy recipes that leave us with plenty of leftovers (aka lunch the next day!).
The pasta I can’t stop making lately? You guessed it: Fresh Tomato Puttanesca! The reason is twofold! One, because it’s absolutely delicious! And two, because I literally always have these ingredients in my kitchen and pantry – and it’s easily adaptable to suit my needs (see my notes below for substitution ideas!). That’s what I call a win/win!
- Olive Oil: No need to bust out your fancy olive oil! Any EVOO will work great!
- Butter: Just a Tablespoon adds richness to sauce. I prefer unsalted, because the sauce is already quite salty, but in a pinch, salted may be used. Just omit or reduce the salt called for.
- Garlic: If there’s not tons of minced garlic… is it even puttanesca?
- Anchovy Fillets: Ditto what I said above lol. Garlic and anchovies are the base of any decent puttanesca sauce, and this recipe uses a good quantity of both.
- Salt and Pepper: Start with the amounts given, and adjust to suit your needs.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: If you cannot handle the heat, feel free to reduce or eliminate this ingredient.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Instead of canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes, we’re using fresh cherry tomatoes! This little switch creates a totally different sauce. One that’s lighter, fresher, and perfect for spring and summer! Choose juicy tomatoes, as the quality you use will reflect the overall flavor of your sauce.
- Kalamata Olives: Be sure you use this exact variety, as plain black olives will not add the same flavor or texture.
- Capers: Drain the liquid from the capers before adding them to the sauce. Feel free to add an extra tablespoon if you really love capers.
- White Wine: I suggest something dry and light, like a Sauvignon Blanc. Bonus points because it pairs well with the finished dish!
- Parsley: FRESH!!! Don’t sub dried parsley here. Please! It won’t add the pop of freshness required. If you must sub with another fresh herb, basil works well. But obviously adds a different flavor.
- Pasta: I love using classic spaghetti here. But linguini, angel hair, or even bow ties work well. Choose a variety you enjoy! And dried pasta is totally fine, but if you’re feeling fancy and want to use fresh pasta, you do you!
- Pasta Water: You know that salted water you dump in the drain? Don’t toss it all! Instead, reserve about 1 cup before you drain the pot of water. If your pasta looks too dry, you can add the water into the tomato sauce to loosen it up!
Tips for Making Pasta Puttanesca
- Make the sauce before you boil the pasta! You don’t want your cooked pasta sitting in a strainer getting hard and cold.
- When you do make your pasta, be sure to bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and then add a hearty dash of salt. You don’t want to add the salt before the water is boiling (it’ll slowly ruin your pots and pans).
- Once you add the tomatoes, be patient. You want to cook them until they burst and begin to release their juices. The time will vary for how long this will take depending on your tomatoes. If they’re super fresh and juicy, they may burst quicker than the time frame I called for. Use your senses as a guide to help you adjust as needed.
- After you drain the pasta, add the pasta to the sauce and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. This will help the sauce cling to the pasta and impart more flavor. Just don’t cook it much longer or you’ll loose that al dente texture.
This is an absolutely delicious pasta recipe that’s just exploding with flavor! Easy enough to whip up on a weeknight but fancy enough to serve to company or for a special occasion! Looking for more pasta inspiration? Check out these 16 Cozy Pasta Recipes for National Pasta Day!
More Puttanesca Recipes:
- Pasta Puttanesca
- Puttanesca Poached Eggs
- Quinoa Puttanesca
- Linguini Clam Puttanesca
- Tomato and Tuna Spaghetti Puttanesca
Fresh Tomato Pasta Puttanesca
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (21 g) unsalted butter
- 8 large garlic cloves minced
- (1) 2 ounce tin flat anchovies in olive oil drained
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly cracked
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 pints cherry tomatoes use colorful heirloom varieties if available
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives drained and pitted
- 1/3 cup capers drained
- 3/4 cup (170 ml) dry white wine
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf fresh parsley chopped
- 1 pound (454 g) dried spaghetti or pasta of your choice
- Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-heat. Once the butter has completely melted, add the garlic and anchovies and cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Then stir in the black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add in the tomatoes and stir to coat. Cook the tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes burst and release their juices to form a sauce, about 10 to 12 minutes. If any tomatoes don't burst, lightly press on them with a wooden spoon to help them along.
- Add olives, capers, and white wine. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Toss in the parsley and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- In the meantime, place a large pot of water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add in about 2 teaspoons of salt, then add in the pasta and cook for 7 minutes, or until al dente. Reserve a 1 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and place into a bowl until needed.
- When the pasta is finished cooking, drain well then add it to the sauce and toss to combine. Cook for 1 minutes, stirring almost constantly. If the pasta looks too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water, and still well to combine.
- Remove from heat and divide among shallow bowls. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired.