Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Course Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine Italian, Southern Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 generous servings


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 canned plum tomatoes chopped, with some of the puree (about 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup black or green olives pitted and slivered
  • 2 teaspoons capers rinsed and roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt or sea salt
  • Hot red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves


  1. Fill a large saucepan about two-thirds full with cold water and set over high heat to boil for the spaghetti.
  2. Chop the garlic until fairly fine. Add the anchovies, chopping both until almost a paste. Melt the butter with the oil over medium heat in a skillet or saucepan large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Add the garlic-anchovy mixture, cooking just until fragrant. Stir in the plum tomatoes, olives and capers. Season to taste with salt (if needed) and hot red pepper flakes (if using).  Simmer the sauce while the pasta cooks.
  3. Add a small handful of salt and the spaghetti to the water, pressing with a wooden spoon until fully immersed; stir well. Cook until al dente, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain the spaghetti, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water, and turn into the skillet with the sauce. Mix well, adding cooking water as needed for a saucy consistency. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.