Penne alla Puttanesca


This traditional puttanesca recipe from chef Mario Batali's "Molto Gusto" cookbook is made with easy-to-find ingredients. Also try:Broccoli Rabe with Mozzarella Crema, Linguini with Clams, and Spaghetti con la SardePhoto credit: Quentin Bacon


  • 2 tablespoons salt-packed capers

  • 1 ½ cups Pomi strained tomatoes

  • 8 to 10 salt-packed anchovy fillets

  • Coarse salt

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ medium red onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons crushed red-pepper flakes

  • 1 pound penne pasta

  • cup Gaeta olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

  • cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving


  1. Rinse capers and soak overnight, changing water frequently.

  2. Place Pomi tomatoes in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half; set aside.

  3. Place anchovies in a small bowl and set it in the sink under a stream of cold running water for 20 minutes. Drain anchovies, pat dry, and coarsely chop.

  4. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons salt; return to a boil.

  5. Meanwhile, heat oil, onion, garlic, and anchovies in another large pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until onion is lightly browned and anchovies have broken down, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

  6. Add pasta to boiling water and cook, according to package directions, until just al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta water.

  7. Add pasta and reserved pasta water to tomato mixture; stir and toss over medium heat until pasta is well coated. Stir in capers, olives, and parsley; serve immediately with grated cheese on the side.

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