Pantry Spaghetti alla Puttanesca: a deliciously easy-to prepare pasta dish with ingredients you can keep in your pantry at all times. Spaghetti is tossed with a simple pan sauce made with onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, and the brininess of capers and olives. If you’re looking for an easy and last-minute vegetarian meal, this is it! Or, add some shrimp or chicken for some extra protein.
Can I really make this dish with pantry ingredients?
Yes! The majority of this dish is made with pantry items; granted, you might not have them on hand. (Hence the name, Pantry Spaghetti alla Puttanesca!) But, if you stock up on some of these items when your store has a canned goods sale, you’ll be set! I always have onions and garlic on hand (I am sure you do, too). Other than that, the rest of the ingredients are pantry items. You can omit the fresh basil if you don’t have it on hand. Here’s all you’ll need for this recipe:
- diced tomatoes
- kosher salt
- red pepper flakes
What? No anchovies? What kind of Italian are you?
Yes… you’ll notice I don’t have anchovies on this list.
Anchovies are traditionally an ingredient in Puttanesca, and they do add a ton of flavor. I just know that a lot of people shy away from them, and I wanted to make this dish as accessible and appealing to everyone as possible. You can definitely add them if you want to, in fact, I would encourage them!
But this recipe is great as is, so even though maybe it’s not 100% authentic, it’s still a really delicious dish made with great ingredients.
Help! I don’t understand how to measure pasta!
Ok, this might be the most frequently asked question I get any time I show a pasta recipe! Here’s the low down. You can either weigh and measure pasta uncooked, or cooked.
- To weigh your pasta uncooked:
- This is the serving size as shown on the box. For instance, the box will show you that 2 oz of pasta is 200 calories. This represents the uncooked weight. For this recipe, 8 oz of uncooked pasta is required. This will serve four people.
- To weigh uncooked pasta, place a bowl on a kitchen scale, and zero it out (or press the “tare” button).
- Then, add pasta to the bowl until you see 8 oz displayed on the scale.
- If you measure your pasta cooked:
- This recipe requires half of a pound of pasta, or half of a box of pasta. You can eyeball that part.
- When it comes to serving, one serving size of this dish is 1/4 of the recipe.
- A suggested serving of pasta (2 oz uncooked) is one cup of cooked pasta.
- Since other ingredients are added into the pasta, it can be hard to determine the appropriate serving size of recipes.
- For this recipe, one heaping cup of cooked pasta and the sauce is the serving size.
How to make the Puttanesca sauce
Ok, now that we got the pasta part out of the way, let’s make this dish!
First, get a large pot of water ready and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add some salt and the pasta. The pasta will cook as we prepare the pan sauce. This dish takes only about 15 to 20 minutes to assemble from start to finish.
Next, let’s get the sauce started. Start off by chopping the onion and mincing the garlic. At this point, you can also weigh out your olives and slice those up, and get the capers ready. Get a large frying pan over medium high heat, and add some olive oil spray. Add the onion to the pan with the kosher salt and red pepper flakes, and cook that for about five minutes. After five minutes, add the minced garlic and sauté it for just a few seconds.
Add the diced onions to the pan, and cook that mixture for about ten minutes.
After the mixture has cooked for ten minutes, add the sliced olives, the capers, and the brine from the capers. The capers required for this recipe is about half of a 3 oz jar, so just add half of the jar contents here. Toss everything together. If you have it, add some fresh chopped basil for some freshness and color.
Putting Pantry Spaghetti alla Puttanesca together
At this point, the pasta will be cooked. I don’t like to use a colander to drain my pasta. Instead, I remove it with a pair of tongs or a pasta fork. Add the cooked pasta directly into the pan sauce, and toss everything around. You can reserve some of the pasta water to the side, in case the sauce needs to be thinned out a little bit. I typically don’t use any.
At this point, you can add some grated cheese and taste for seasoning.
You can also add shrimp or chicken to this dish to increase the protein factor. But it’s also delicious just as is.
Pantry Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
- large frying pan
- large pot
- 8 oz spaghetti, weighed dry, uncooked
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz diced tomatoes, canned
- 3 oz pitted olives, I used pitted Italian castelvetrano green olives here, but any will do
- 1.5 oz capers with brine, half of a 3 oz jar
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions as you make the sauce.
- Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
- Prepare the other ingredients: open the can of tomatoes, weigh out and slice the olives, open the capers.
- To make the sauce, add olive oil spray to a large frying pan over medium high heat.
- Add the chopped onion, salt and red pepper flakes.
- Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic, and cook for just a few seconds to get fragrant,
- Add the tomatoes. Stir to combine and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the olives, followed by the capers and the brine.
- Stir in the basil and taste for seasoning.
- Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the cooked pasta from the water. Add the cooked pasta into the sauce, and toss to combine.
- Cook over a low flame for a few minutes so that the sauce sticks to the pasta.
- If your sauce is too thick for your liking, add some of the starchy pasta water to get to your desired consistency.
- 6 WW points (blue and green plans)
- 1 WW point (purple plan - if whole wheat pasta is used)
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