One-pot pasta puttanesca combines the rich flavors of a classic Southern Italian recipe with an ingenious one pot cooking method!
Pasta puttanesca is a traditional Italian pasta dish that originated in Naples. The dish typically consists of pasta, usually spaghetti, served with a sauce made from tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, anchovies, capers, and olives, and seasoned with chili pepper flakes and parsley.
The name “puttanesca” is believed to have originated from the Italian word “puttana,” which means “prostitute.” Some stories suggest that the dish was a favorite among the women who worked in the brothels of Naples, while others say it was simply a quick and easy meal that could be made with ingredients that were commonly available in the pantry.
With that provenance I think that a one pot rendition of pasta puttanesca makes perfect sense!
what you’ll need for one pot pasta puttanesca
- spaghetti or linguine is traditional but I love to use a shaped pasta as well. I think the shaped pastas hold up in a one pot recipe better than strands.
- crushed tomatoes
- red or white. Leave it out if you like and sub more water.
- olive oil
- I use red onion and it lends a nice sweetness to the dish.
- Parmesan cheese
*Don’t leave out the anchovies. The anchovies are usually sautéed with garlic and chili pepper flakes in olive oil to create a flavorful base for the sauce. They actually will break down and melt into the oil as soon as they heat up, so you won’t even know they’re there, and the flavor and aroma is unmistakable.
how one pot pastas work
One-pot pastas are a quick and easy way to prepare a meal with minimal cleanup. Instead of putting a ginormous pot of water to boil while you cool a sauce in another pan, one pot pastas cook the pasta and make the sauce in the same pan, at the same time. The only trick is getting the amount of liquid correct, so pay attention to your recipe. But you can always add a little more to the pot if you need it. Here’s how it works:
- Choose a pot that is large enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably. You will need enough water to cook the pasta and enough space for the other ingredients.
- Add olive oil to the pan and sauté your aromatics, such as onion and garlic. In this recipe we’ll also use anchovies and red pepper flakes.
- Add your liquid to the pot and bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the pasta to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- As the pasta cooks, the liquid will reduce and thicken, creating a sauce.
- Add any other ingredients that require less cooking in stages so they don’t over or under cook.
- For this recipe I toss the finished pasta with Parmesan cheese, and add add olives, capers, and cherry tomatoes at the end.
what’s the ratio of liquid to pasta for one pot pasta?
3-4 cups for 8 ounces of dry pasta
The ratio of liquid to pasta for one-pot pastas can vary depending on the recipe and the type of pasta you are using. As a general guideline, you will need 3-4 cups of liquid for every 8 ounces of pasta, depending on the type of pasta and whether you want a saucier or drier final dish.
my tips for successful one pot pasta puttanesca
Use enough liquid: The amount of liquid you use in your one-pot pasta recipe is important. You want enough liquid to cook the pasta and create a flavorful sauce, but not so much that the dish becomes too soupy. A good rule of thumb is to use about 3 cups of liquid for every 8 ounces of pasta, and have some extra on the side in case you need it.
Don’t forget to stir! Stirring the pasta and sauce ingredients frequently is key to making sure the pasta cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Be sure to taste test your pasta to see if it’s done, don’t rely on the recipe time alone. If your pasta is too firm, add a bit more liquid and keep cooking until tender.
One pot pastas benefit from some fresh garnishes to brighten them up. Grates cheese and herbs are good choices.
more easy pasta dinners
One Pot Pasta Puttanesca
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, sliced in thin slivers
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 3 oil packed anchovies, (or use as many or as little as you like.)
- 8 oz pasta, I used gemelli
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
- 1 cup assorted olives, halved or sliced
- 1-2 Tbsp capers
- salt and fresh pepper to taste
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar, or wine vinegar, if needed
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- fresh parsley
- In a large pot heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and anchovies, stirring almost constantly for a few minutes.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes into a quart measuring cup and add the wine. Then add water to measure 3 cups total. Add to the pot and bring the pot to a boil.
- Add the pasta and stir to combine. Once the pot comes back to a boil you may need to turn down the heat slightly to keep it boiling gently, not furiously.
- Cook the pasta for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Be sure to check it at 10 minutes.
- Add the olives and capers, salt and pepper to taste. At this point I add the vinegar if the sauce needs a pop of acidity.
- Stir in the cheese, and serve asap with more cheese on the side, garnished with parsley.