Main dish

Homemade Puttanesca Sauce

An easy and delicious homemade puttanesca sauce. This pasta sauce is much better than any you'll find in a jar and takes less than 30 minutes

To recipe
homemade Puttanesca sauce with Parmesan and basil
Recipe insights & TIPS

This Puttanesca sauce is packed with flavor, made with only a few essential ingredients and tastes much better than any you can find in a jar, Also it'll take only 20 minutes from pot to plate.

homemade Puttanesca sauce with Parmesan and basil

Pasta, sauce and maybe a protein added in, and you have a quick and usually tasty meal ready in a matter of minutes. It's the perfect end to a day after running errands, driving to and from activities or just being all around busy with things in general. And while there are many great choices for sauce in a jar out there and no shame using them, it's really easy to make your own pasta sauce.

My take on homemade Puttanesca sauce is really good, to be honest. It has that salty brine taste from the olives, capers and anchovies but it's not too much. A heavy dose of fresh garlic and whole tomatoes balances the sauce out perfectly. Try and grab San Marzano tomatoes if you can find them. They are tomatoes that are grown only in a designated area of Naples, in volcanic soil from Mount Vesuvius and this is what gives them much more flavor than a regular tomato.

FAQ's about making Puttanesca sauce

Is this Puttanesca sauce spicy? It does have a little bit of a kick to it due to the red pepper flakes. I used half a teaspoon but you could use less, or even more if you don't mind the heat.

What if I don't have a blender? A food processor would also work.

What if I don't like anchovies? You really can't taste them once they dissolve into the sauce but the flavor they leave is key to this recipe.

What are capers? Capers are actually tiny buds from a middle eastern bush, picked before they flower. They are then pickled in brine.  

puttanesca sauce in a blender
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Delicious and fresh tasting homemade Puttanesca sauce.

Main dish
20 minutes
Total TIME:
25 minutes
5 minutes


  • 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • ½ cup green pitted olives
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ pound spaghetti
  • grated Parmesan
  • fresh basil

Ingredient Swaps


  1. In a pot, add the first six ingredients and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer on low fo 15-20 minutes.
  3. Transfer the sauce to a blender and pulse a few short times.
  4. Taste the sauce and add salt and black pepper if desired.
  5. Cook the spaghetti as per the directions on the pack.
  6. Drain and add the sauce to the cooked pasta.
  7. Stir and serve with Parmesan and fresh basil on top.
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