Puttanesca sauce

The story goes that the prostitutes of Naples attracted customers because this sauce was so fragrant. I really like that story. The kids in Lemony Snicket (which is a very sly book) cook this for their guardian. My version doesn’t have anchovies, I’ve added gochuang, miso, shitake mushrooms, tamari and other ingredients to my puttanesca at different times. Today- I just skipped the anchovies.


1 14 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped olives ( I used green, but oil cured would be fantastic here)

1-2 tbsp capers

4-5 large cloves of garlic (about 1-2 tbsp)

2 tbsp extravirgin olive oil

1/2-1 tsp dried red pepper flakes, 1 tsp dried oregano and 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat the oil, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (don’t brown). Add the capers and olives and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and the oregano and the red pepper flakes. Cover the sauce and cook  this low and slow for 20-30 minutes.

Cook pasta, add to sauce, thin with some pasta water. Traditionally this pasta is served with parsley and without cheese but honestly, every pasta tastes better with some parmesan.

Vegetarian puttanesca with homemade pasta

Fresh pasta at home with vegetarian puttanesca

Fresh Homemade Pasta with Vegetarian puttanesca


It’s easier than it sounds and tremendous fun! You do need a pasta maker. I make it enough that I have a kitchen aid attachment but a hand cranked pasta maker is available for less than a $100. My kid did well in her piano recital and I asked her what she wanted for dinner and the answer is always “let’s make pasta”


Recipe: I use Michael Ruhlman’s recipe – 3 parts flour to 2 parts egg. It’s easy – I crack the eggs required (1 for each portion of pasta), weigh them and add 1.5 times the amount of all purpose flour and a tsp of salt. A large egg is approximately 50 g.

I use the dough hook of my stand mixer to knead – it will look tacky but have faith in the recipe and keep at it for 5 min- it will come together. Now let it rest for at least 30 min ! This is vital- I’ve skipped this step once to my great regret and never done it again.


Divide the dough into manageable quarters or eights. Start at the largest setting on your pasta machine- pass the dough through. I flour the dough frequently. Fold into thirds, turn it and pass through it again. Do this 3 times and then consecutively pass through thinner settings. For fettuccine, which I made today – the 2nd or 3rd last setting is good. For ravioli, I go to the thinnest. Switch the attachments for the cutting attachment – cut the sheets to manageable lengths and pass the pass through. Flour liberally – you have a nest of pasta. Cook in salted boiling water for 3 min !



My daughter is reading Lemony Snicket and wanted a vegetarian puttanesca. Here is my version

3 tbsp butter, add 5 chopped garlic cloves, about ¼ cup chopped olives, 2-3 tbsp capers. Cook for a minute. Add 2 small cans of crushed San Marzano tomatoes (28 oz) and 1 tbsp of gochuang (to replace the umami of the anchovies). Simmer for the 30 minutes you are making the pasta.


Toss pasta with warm sauce, top with some good olive oil and Parmesan. Well worthy of a 9 year old piano maestro 🙂