Recipe: Pasta puttanesca

Even though I don’t eat much pasta these days, pasta puttanesca is still one of my favourites when I partake in carb loading. The key ingredients (anchovies, tomatoes and olives) dial up the umami level of the sauce, making it impossible to resist.

I used Barilla red lentil penne but you can use any pasta you like. Check my article Which pasta is better? if you want some information before choosing a vessel for the sauce.

This recipe is not vegan but it is dairy-free. It can be made gluten-free and/or low-carb depending on the pasta or pasta substitute you choose.

Finally, I served the pasta with sardines for extra protein and healthy fats. Feel free to add your preferred source of protein, particularly if you choose a pasta that doesn’t have much of it.

Pasta puttanesca

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 6 heaped tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato passata
  • 250g dried pasta
  • fresh parsley leaves, chopped


  1. Boil water to cook the pasta.
  2. Place olive oil, garlic and anchovies in a large pan. Cook on low-medium heat, stirring often. until the garlic starts to brown.
  3. Add tomato passata and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add salt to the boiling water and cook pasta according to instructions.
  5. Add olives and capers to the sauce, stir and continue simmering.
  6. Once pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta.
  7. Serve with fresh parsley and a side salad.

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