Pasta alla Puttanesca

Pasta all Puttanesca

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

There are many theories when it comes to today’s recipe, Pasta alla Puttanesca, whether in its origin or the story behind its name. Some (many celebrity chefs in the UK) would say that Pasta alla Puttanesca means the way a whore would make it! But my Italian friends will tell you that the name behind this dish refers to the contrasting mix of flavours and ingredients that make it up!

“Che puttanata” in Italian basically means “what a mess!”. This is in reference to the sauce, the sugo alla puttanesca, as if no thought went into making it, just a “let’s chuck in whatever we can find” approach. Hence the name: pasta or spaghetti alla puttanesca, a pasta dish whose sauce is, essentially, a mess! You know, like something you’d put together from whatever was at hand, without actual planning – that’s what this pasta really means! Don’t believe everything a celebrity chef tells you!

As with any much loved and treasured recipe, this one has variations depending on the cook. Some leave out the anchovies altogether, some use fresh tomatoes while others won’t even think about using chillies. Cooking, like eating, is a very personal and subjective pastime, so you make it the way you like it, without changing the foundation. I love anchovies and I certainly love my chillies, so you’ll find both these in my sugo alla puttanesca. You can adjust the amount of chilli or chilli flakes in the recipe or do without it altogether if you’re not a fan.

You might fancy checking out my Italian page.

Now, let’s get our aprons on!

Pasta alla Puttanesca

If you like the recipe and article, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

Pasta Puttanesca

20 minute recipe for Pasta alla Puttanesca or Pasta Puttanesca, mistakenly thought to mean "Slut's Pasta" or "Whore's Pasta". Find out what it really means!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Add to Collection
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pasta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 538kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced thinly
  • ½ a fresh red chilli deseeded and thinly sliced or half a tsp of chilli flakes
  • 8 anchovy fillets rinsed and patted dry if in brine
  • 1 Tbsp capers rinsed if salted and chopped roughly
  • 100 g black pitted olives sliced or halved
  • 1 x 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • small handful parsley chopped
  • 400 g pasta of your choice cooked according to packet instructions, usually 8-10 mins


  • Bring a large saucepan of water to boil for the pasta, adding a heaped tsp of salt in.
  • Heat the olive oil in another large saucepan or deep frying pan on medium heat. Add the garlic, chilli and anchovies. Fry for a couple of minutes, the anchovies will fall apart during this time.
  • Add the olives, capers and tomatoes and bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat until the sauce has thickened.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water until the al dente stage, according to packet instructions, usually about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the drained pasta to the sauce, toss and serve sprinkled with parsley and freshly ground black pepper.


Calories: 538kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 666mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 345IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

1 thought on “Pasta alla Puttanesca”

  1. Sounds just like my recipe Azlin Bloor. I will be making this sometime soon and posting it too. I like your blog. Like mine it has a variety of different food types. Good job

Comments are closed.