Skip to Content

Penne Puttanesca

Sharing is caring!

Penne Puttanesca

Penne Puttanesca

Jessica Braider
Puttanesca is a quick and flavorful pasta sauce, known for being salty and spicy. Traditionally it’s made with anchovies but while they make a flavorful addition, they aren’t necessary for a puttanesca that is bursting with flavor. The sauce can be made ahead of time and tastes even better the next day.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 8 servings


  • 16 oz. whole wheat penne pasta (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced, about 2 tsp.
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. capers drained
  • 2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or to taste


  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  • Heat a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, and when it is hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and sauté them until the onions are just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, capers, olives and red pepper flakes. Simmer it for 15 - 20 minutes. When the pasta is almost done cooking, stir the vinegar into the sauce.
  • Drain the penne and toss it with the sauce. (Remember to leave some of the noodles plain if your kids don’t like flavorful sauces.) Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Top it at the table with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Combine all ingredients except the pasta and cheese in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 - 10 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours. Serve with cooked pasta topped with grated cheese. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)


Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the pasta and store tossed with a little oil to prevent sticking, chop the onion and the olives, peel the garlic, drain and chop the anchovies, grate the cheese if necessary and refrigerate, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Add 1 - 2 oz. anchovies, drained and finely chopped (or 2 Tbsp. anchovy paste or tomato paste) to the sauce with the capers and olives. Add fresh basil or parsley to the sauce near the end of cooking it.
Tip: Puttanesca sauce is great for the winter months as the ingredients come primarily from your shelves rather than the garden.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 320, Total Fat: 8g, 12.5%; Saturated Fat: 1g, 5%; Cholesterol: 3mg, 1%; Sodium: 384mg, 16%; Total Carbohydrate: 52g, 17.5%; Dietary Fiber: 7g, 26.5%; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 12g
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Keyword 30 Minutes (or less) Meals, Dinner, Fall, Gluten-Free, High Fiber, Kosher, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, No Added Sugar, Nut-Free, Slow Cooker, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop