Easy Italian Spaghetti Puttanesca Recipe

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A classic Italian puttanesca recipe.

While many people who date chefs have fantasies of gourmet meals every night, they are soon shocked into the icy reality that many chefs do not cook at home.

Fortunately, that’s not true for Chef Rouge.

While he is only ever home before midnight 2 days a week, he does cook on his days off.

His passion for food is as ever present as my appetite and so I was surprised when he told me that one of his signature dishes was spaghetti puttanesca because I have never had it!

Puttanesca translates easiest to whore in English and there are many stories as to how it’s gotten its name – whatever the reason is I’m grateful.

puttanesca ingredients

I’m also grateful that in the heat of July he agreed to make it for me.

For my Italian friends who may comment on the authenticity, his version includes herbs throughout each stage and of course the inclusion of spalla or prosciutto because…

pork makes everything better!

sauteed garlic


Spaghetti Puttanesca

puttanesca sauce

The best part of spaghetti puttanesca is the sauce, make sure you save a bit of bread at the end for scarpetta.

Italian spaghetti puttanesca

Italian Spaghetti Puttanesca

Yield: 6-8 servings
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 200 grams dry spaghetti Tomato sauce 100g per person for a large meal
  • 128 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chiles
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece parmesan broken into small pieces
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large shallots julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 150 grams prosciutto julienned
  • 2 white anchovies
  • 6 leaves fresh basil julienned
  • 8 leaves parsley torn
  • 1 lemon zest only
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/4 cup olives
  • 3 pieces sun-dried tomato
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 roma tomatoes julienned (no seeds)
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to taste


  1. Warm pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and diced onion. Sautee for 3-4 minutes, until translucent (no colour).
  2. Add chopped basil, chile and garlic and sweat for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Tip: Cook the basil on high so it is fried rather than sauteed, not only does it help the flavour but it keeps the basil green.
  3. For garnish Heat large pan over medium high heat, once hot add olive oil. Sautee shallots for 1 minute. Add garlic and chili, sautee for 30 seconds. Add spalla, sautee 2 minutes, crank heat to high to crisp it.
  4. Turn heat back to medium, add anchovies and work spoon to break anchovy into oil. Add basil, parsley, lemon zest, capers, olives, sundried tomato, sautee 1 minute. Deglaze with white wine, add roma tomatoes and stir in cooked pasta.
  5. Taste tomato sauce for seasoning, don’t overseason as garnish will be salty. Put tomato sauce in bottom of bowl add spaghetti, top with more basil, parmesan cheese, black pepper and olive oil.

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Join the Conversation

  1. Best holiday destinations says:

    Nice pics!!!!!!!!!!! looking a delicious food. thanks for posting nice views.

    1. Thanks for a such a good recipe!

  2. Candice @ The Let's Go Ladies says:

    WOW, that looks so good! I need to save this recipe and make it myself one of these days. Love the tip about frying the basil instead of sauteing. I never would have that of that!

  3. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer says:

    That looks so delicious! I need to find myself a chef! 😀

  4. Jenny | A Thing For Wor(l)ds says:

    I lived with a pintxo chef in Bilbao and he NEVER COOKED US ONE THING ALL YEAR LONG. Such a waste. Sounds like you lucked out with this chef 🙂 This recipe is . . . um. . . . lost my train of thought because I’m so hungry.

  5. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    My favourite! apparently it’s called puttanesca because the Italian prostitutes used to make it as a quick dinner between customers.

  6. Janice @ Californian in Exile says:

    Ayngelina, I’ve always wanted to try this pasta dish, but one ingredient above all the others just scares me off…anchovies. But I think this version could convince me to get over my irrational fear – I think the addition of the herbs helps – and finally go for it. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Janice @ Californian in Exile says:

    I’ve always wanted to try this dish, Ayngelina, but the one ingredient that all the versions have just plain scare me – anchovies. I think I could be convinced to try this one, especially with the inclusion of some good fresh herbs. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. This is an Italian classic but since I changed my diet first to vegetarian and now trying vegan, I ‘m learning to make this dishes all in a suitable version for me without meat and with some substitutes when possible. It’s kind of fun and requires to be creative! 🙂

  9. Katie @ The World on my Necklace says:

    Looks so delicious! And not too hard to make too – think I will give it a go 🙂

  10. sarah somewhere says:

    That looks positively delicious! Just had lunch but this makes me hungry again!

  11. Claudia Fracalanza says:

    Seems scrumptious!! And I agree with you: pork makes everything better!!! Will try that this weekend, thanks for sharing!

  12. It looks delicious! I need to try that!

  13. frankaboutcroatia says:

    Your photos are great. And the pasta looks delicious! I do pasta puttanesca at home, and find it really yummy and not so difficult to prepare. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  14. Chris A Sharpe says:

    Oh my goodness, the recipe alone looks incredible, the photos are just beautiful too!

  15. Stephen S. says:

    Great post Ayngelina. Looks delicious. I can’t wait to taste this sphag when I comeback to Toronto.

  16. Travel Croatia says:

    So tasty! Now I am so hungry!

    I will go to cook now!

    Thank you for sharing and for the recipe

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