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Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Because this sauce keeps well, you can double the recipe and use half of the sauce for tonight’s dinner. Store the remaining sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or for up to 3 months in the freezer.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 anchovy fillets in olive oil, chopped, plus 1 Tbs. of the oil
  • 2 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1/4 cup pitted and chopped black olives
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste, plus 2 Tbs.
  • 1 lb. spaghetti or other strand pasta
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


Make the sauce
In a large fry pan over low heat, warm the oil and garlic until fragrant but not colored, about 2 minutes. Add the anchovies and their oil and cook, mashing them with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and their juice and the olives, capers, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Season with salt.

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce along with the parsley, tossing to combine. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).