[vegan] sugo alla puttanesca (puttanesca sauce)

by sj

Literally translated as “sauce in the style of a whore” or “whore’s sauce” this recipe has as many origin stories as the aforementioned ladies of ill repute would have on a busy night. My personal favorite is that it was created by such ladies to lure men in with it’s strong aroma and flavours, packed full of tantalizing richness and a spark of spice, it would get their….appetites…going. Is it true? Who knows? But it’s a fun story for a seriously incredible, simple, and quick dish. You can easily prep your ingredients, start you water for your pasta and have the sauce ready before your pasta is done, and while this is traditionally served with spaghetti, any long pasta or smaller shapes will work well (such as ziti or gemelli) and you can use it as a pizza sauce as well, or use it to make baked pastas….use your imagination.

sugo alla puttanesca

Literally translated as “sauce in the style of a whore” or “whore’s sauce” this recipe has as many origin stories as the aforementioned… 10 items or less [vegan] sugo alla puttanesca (puttanesca sauce) European make it paper
yield: 4-8* Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
rating 5.0/5
( 3 voted )


800g | 28oz (1 large can) whole plum tomatoes

18g/30ml | 1 Tbsp "anchovy" paste

.6-1.2g | ¼-½ tsp red pepper flakes

55g | ⅓ cup chopped kalamata

20g | 2 Tbsp capers, drained

20g | 2 Tbsp packed chopped garlic

20g | 2 Tbsp minced sweet bell pepper (optional)

28g/30ml | 2 Tbsp olive oil


Crush, squeeze, or mash tomatoes to desired consistency (you want them to be rough textured for this dish)

Heat oil over medium heat, and sautee garlic and bell pepper (if using) until garlic is dark golden (just shy of burning) and then add remaining ingredients

Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain medium simmer and cook until thickened and tomatoes are breaking down (about 10-15 minutes)

Will keep 3-5 days in the fridge, i don’t recommend this for freezing as it tends to ruin the texture, this is a sauce best enjoyed fresh


this makes enough for 1 lb of pasta, which is 4 servings (realistically) as a main dish or 8 servings as a side or as a main dish (unrealistically)

This dish is packed with strong flavours and tons of umami, it’s truly as decadent and sinful as it’s name implies. Lots of garlic, which you’ll want to cook just shy of scorching it to get the best flavour, plentiful amounts of olives, use whatever mixture of them you’d like (i used kalamata, castelvetrano, and manzanilla), briny tangy capers, spicy crushed red pepper flakes, powerfully rich “anchovy” paste, olive oil (use a good extra virgin rich one here), and some finely chopped sweet bell pepper. The bell pepper isn’t a traditional element, but brings in just a touch of some really nice sweetness and really oomphs up the dish and enhances the flavour of the tomatoes. You can leave this one out if you prefer a straight up traditional version or use a pinch of sugar.

Taking the garlic almost to the point of burning really transforms the flavour and adds a totally delightful toasty and nutty element to the dish, just be careful not to take it too far or you’ll end up with bitter notes (you’ll be able to tell very easily from the smell if you’ve gone too far.) Trust me, it’s worth the risk here. Make sure and add in your other ingredients AS SOON as it’s done, don’t delay, get the liquids in there and stir it up. The rest is just some simmering, making sure to stir rather frequently to keep things from scorching. When you’re ready to use, simply throw a ladel (1/2 cup or so) of your pasta water into the sauce, add in your (just shy of al dente) pasta and briefly cook while stirring until the liquid is gone and you’re left with a thin, glossy, delicious coating on your noodles. This isn’t a “saucy” sauce, and you may think it’s not enough, but it is PACKED with flavour and so insanely yum you’ll want to eat the whole pan straight with a fork. Just be warned, if the stories are true, you may attract hordes of questionably ethical men to your door, make sure and turn off that red light just to be safe. [or don’t. maybe you want that. i won’t judge you (much)]

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