Talk about Italian comfort food!  There are SO MANY WAYS to make Puttanesca that I don’t think I’ve ever made it the same twice!  However, there are some common, key ingredients that help make it what it is…such as the use of anchovies, capers, olives, and a tomato base.  This is the kind of meal that I love to turn to at the last minute because it’s quick, versatile, and tasty.  Below is the concoction that I happened to make that day.  



PASTA (I usually use THIN WHOLE WHEAT SPAGHETTI…thin because I don’t like the thick whole wheat noodle texture!)

Half a can of ANCHOVIES, a good-quality brand that packs them in olive oil


About a tablespoon CAPERS, drained

RED BELL PEPPER, rinsed and diced

ONION, diced

FENNEL BULB, cleaned and diced

CANNED DICED TOMATO  (You can throw in some fresh diced too.)

OLIVES, pitted and roughly chopped  (I prefer Kalamata olives but I had none to use that day.)


SALT if needed  (The anchovies and capers add a good amount of salt already.)

FRESH PARSLEY, chopped (Also didn’t have any of this that day.)



Boil your pasta until al dente per package instructions.

In a separate large pan or pot, drizzle some olive oil and saute the anchovies, capers, bell pepper, onion and fennel until the anchovies are dissolved and the veg is tender-crisp.  Add your tomatoes, olives, and pepper, stir it up and let it simmer until your pasta is ready.

Drain the pasta, toss in with the sauce, divide onto plates, sprinkle with parsley, and enjoy with your family!



For those who do not like fish, know that the anchovies add distinct flavor but it is not a strong “fishy” flavor and they basically dissolve while cooking.  You won’t even notice them when it’s chow time.