The cookie settings on this website are set to 'allow all cookies' to give you the very best experience. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Please click Accept Cookies to continue to use the site.

Penne Puttanesca

by Caren McSherry
If any one dish could swirl controversy, perhaps this is the one. Puttanesca, the sauce, refers to women of the evening who, upon returning home in the wee hours, open the refrigerator to a scant nothing, save perhaps a half tin of anchovies, some withered garlic, tired tomatoes and olives. I have elaborated a bit on the sauce, but the story remain the same. Puttana's pasta-hence puttanesca with penne noodles. The flavour is as fiery as their profession!


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120ml)
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) capers
  • 1 cup (240ml) kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp (15-30ml) hot chili flakes
  • 2 cups (480ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb (455g) penne noodles, cooked
  • 1/2 bunch basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground tellicherry or black pepper
  • Garnish: 2 tbsp (30ml) minced parsley, freshly greated Parmesan cheese, preferably Reggiano


1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and garlic and fry about 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the anchovies and sauté until they almost dissolve, about 4 minutes.
2. Add the capers, olives, chili flakes and tomatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the tomatoes break and form a nice, thick sauce. Meanwhile, cook the pasta, stir the basil, sea salt and pepper into the sauce.
3. To serve, toss the sauce with the pasta. Garnish with minced parsley. Pass the Parmesan at the table.

Serves 6

Copyright (c) Caren McSherry 2011
Filed Under: pasta, penne puttanesca, main Italian
Penne Puttanesca

Make This Recipe: