Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca Recipe

Published on June 7th 2022 by Jennifer Dodd.
Last updated on March 20th 2024
This recipe, developed through the collective effort of at least six experts, underwent meticulous research and testing for over three months. Learn more about our process in the art and science behind our recipes. This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy.
Top View of Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca is said to have dated back to the Italian city of Naples, in the World War II era. Its main ingredients consisted of anchovies, capers, olives, garlic, and tomatoes, with some versions having added red pepper flakes for some added spice. In Italy, all of these ingredients were abundant and quickly found, making this meal affordable, simple to make, tasty, and filling. A twist on this classic dish has been modified for the vegan diet by omitting the anchovies while adding lemon juice to balance the saltiness of the capers and olives, as well as adding cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and parsley for some freshness. Replace regular spaghetti with whole wheat, zucchini noodles, or any other of your favorite noodles to accommodate any diet. Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca is a simple and easy recipe for those who want a quick & nutritious meal. Buon Appetito! 

How long does puttanesca sauce last?

Puttanesca sauce will last in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days after you've made it. 

Can I freeze puttanesca sauce?

Yes, puttanesca sauce freezes very well; it's best to pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw naturally in the fridge overnight.  

Is it OK to leave spaghetti sauce out overnight?

It is not OK to leave spaghetti sauce or anything other than breads or some baked/dry goods out overnight. If perishable food is left out overnight, it will start to form a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. This bacterium will cause food poisoning in the body due to the spread of bacteria in the product over time. This type of food poisoning symptoms includes nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps that can last up to 2 days. 

What does puttanesca taste like?

Puttanesca sauce is traditionally made with olive oil, olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. The favors are acidic, briny, salty, and fresh. This makes it an excellent combination for pasta and a sauce for fish or shellfish, chicken and lamb, and an assortment of vegetables such as asparagus or eggplant.  

Author: Jennifer Dodd
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Total rating includes sum of all comments and anonymous votes.

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Time & Serves

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
4 persons


  • Water for boiling the pasta 

  • 1 tablespoon Sea Salt, for the pasta water 

  • 1 (454 gram) package Spaghetti 

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil 

  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced 

  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes 

  • 2 tablespoons Capers 

  • 1/2 cup Pitted Black Olives 

  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half 

  • 2 (16oz) tins Crushed Tomatoes, quality is important in this sauce 

  • 3 tablespoons Fresh Basil, leaves torn 

  • 2 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped 

  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced 


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stovetop. Cook spaghetti to al dente according to the package instructions.  

Heat a large skillet to medium-low heat on the stovetop, adding the olive oil to the skillet to heat up for a few minutes. 

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil, and sauté for 1 minute stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula to avoid the garlic from burning. 

Add the capers, olives & cherry tomatoes to the skillet, cooking for an additional 2 minutes to infuse all the flavors into the oil. 

Stir the tins of crushed tomatoes into the skillet. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to avoid any scorching on the bottom of the skillet. 

Remove from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice and 3/4s of each the basil & parsley, reserving some for garnishing the finished dish. 

Drain the pasta into the kitchen sink using a colander, and add the spaghetti to the skillet of puttanesca sauce. Use a pair of kitchen tongs to toss and coat the spaghetti with the sauce.  

Plate the pasta onto individual plates or a large family-style platter for sharing. Top the dishes with any sauce leftover in the skillet, garnishing with parsley & basil. Twirl away and enjoy your Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca! 

Jennifer Dodd

Savor the taste of culinary excellence with Jennifer, where each dish tells a story of tradition and adventure.

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spaghetti alla puttanesca, vegan pasta sauces, vegan dinner ideas, vegan meals, olives, vegetarian recipes

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Jennifer Dodd

Savor the taste of culinary excellence with Jennifer, where each dish tells a story of tradition and adventure.

More posts by Jennifer Dodd