Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a delicious dish from Naples that bursts with Mediterranean flavour. Like many of my favourite Italian dishes, the simplicity makes this recipe beautiful. It combines only a few ingredients, but if you use good ingredients and cook it right, it tastes perfect.
The name of the dish suggests a possibly interesting background story to the dish. There are a few debated origin stories, ranging from prostitutes to late-night dinners and cooks constrained in the ingredients left to serve with spaghetti. But no matter how it originated, spaghetti alla puttanesca is a masterpiece that won’t get boring. Olives and capers, as well as a tomato sauce, are key ingredients of the dish. Nowadays, a few variations of spaghetti alla puttanesca exist: Some feature garlic, parsley or basil, or anchovies. For this vegan spaghetti alla puttanesca, I added a little twist for an extra delicious Mediterranean flavour!
Ingredients for making Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Green olives
- Black olives
- Nori seaweed
- Chilli flakes
- Salt to season
For this dish, the ingredient list is rather short. The taste of the spaghetti alla puttanesca depends on the quality of these ingredients, so I’d recommend going for good-quality ingredients if possible. Some delicious, flavourful olive oil, passata, capers, garlic and extra virgin olive oil make the dish shine. The tomato sauce brings lots of flavour. I can recommend using a passata di Puglia made with delicious Roma tomatoes. Similar to an arrabbiata, I like to give the dish some bite with chilli flakes. In my opinion, garlic cannot miss in this dish. Lastly, my little twist on the traditional recipe: I add a little bit of nori seaweed to introduce some sea flavours. I experimented with this recipe, and I feel like the seaweed adds a lot to the dish!
Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca Recipe:
Making spaghetti alla puttanesca is quite simple, and it’s a quick recipe to cook. Let’s prepare our ingredients so the cooking process is super smooth. First of all, smash the garlic cloves, and chop them up. For this recipe, there is no need to mince them finely. Cut up the olives into rough bits. Lastly, I took a piece of dried sushi nori and broke it up using a pestle and mortar.
Making the Sauce for Spaghetti alla Puttanesca:
Firstly, add three tablespoons of olive oil to your pan. Add the garlic and chilli flakes, and heat together. The olive oil will infuse with all that delicious flavour.
Before the garlic starts to develop colour, add the passata, ¾ of the olives and capers, and all of the nori seaweed. We want to reserve a few olives and capers for garnishing the dish later. Bring the sauce to a simmer, so it can reduce.
Cooking the Spaghetti:
While the sauce is simmering, we get out spaghetti ready. Add salt to a pot of boiling water, and cook the spaghetti following package instructions. Stop the cooking process a minute before the spaghetti reach al dente so they can finish the cooking process in the sauce. Once the spaghetti are cooked, the sauce for the puttanesca should have reduced nicely.
Once the spaghetti is ready, transfer them to the sauce. Reserve some pasta water, and add it to the sauce if needed. Now, you can cook until the spaghetti is al dente. Check for seasoning, and now you are ready to plate.
To serve, I like garnishing the plated spaghetti alla puttanesca with a generous sip of olive oil and the remaining olives. A few pinches of flakey sea salt, and it’s heaven on a plate! If you like the heat, you can add a few more chilli flakes. Parsley makes another nice topping to the dish. Let me know what you think, and enjoy!
Other Recipes you might Enjoy:
- This vegan lasagna is one of my all-time favourites!
- I love this garlic rosemary focaccia.
- Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino is another classic that just never gets boring.
- These garlic rosemary beans are an easy but delicious side dish!
- Pappa al pomodoro and carabaccia are fantastic soups!
- Pasta al pomodoro is another fantastic classic pasta.
- Panzanella is such a refreshing summer salad.
- This wild garlic pasta is bursting with flavour!
- Penne all’arrabbiata is another delicious classic!
Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a fantastic dish from Naples. It is simple, quick and cheap to prepare, and bursts from Mediterranean flavours. A super satisfying spaghetti!
4 cloves garlic
400ml passata puglia (roma tomatoes)
80 ml extra virgin olive oil
6 Green olives
6 Black olives
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp nori seaweed
1 tsp chilli flakes
Optional: Some parsley to garnish
Smash the garlic cloves, and cut them up. There is no need to mince it finely. Cut the olives into rough bits. Finely mince a nori sheet, or break it up using a pestle and mortar.
Add three tablespoons of olive oil to your pan. Add the garlic and chilli flakes, and heat together. The olive oil will infuse with all that delicious flavour. Before the garlic starts to develop colour, add the passata, ¾ of the olives and capers, and all of the nori seaweed. Bring the sauce to a simmer so it can reduce.
Add salt to a pot of boiling water, and cook the spaghetti following package instructions. Stop the cooking process a minute before the spaghetti reaches an al dente consistency so they can finish the cooking process in the sauce.
Transfer the spaghetti to the sauce. Reserve some pasta water, and add it to the sauce if needed. Now, you can cook until the spaghetti turn al dente. Check for seasoning.
Garnish the plated spaghetti alla puttanesca with a generous sip of olive oil and the remaining olives and caper. A few pinches of flakey sea salt, some more chilli flakes, or parsley make fantastic garnishes.
Nori Seaweed is my little twist to this classic recipe. Some traditional recipes call for anchovies, which inspired me to try introducing some ocean flavours with seaweed. I think it adds a nice note to the recipe!
The quality of ingredients really determines the outcome of this dish. A tasty extra virgin olive oil and great passata are essential.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Starter, main, lunch, dinner
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Pasta alla puttanesca, Spaghetti alla puttanesca, vegan pasta, vegan spaghetti