If you love pasta (who doesn’t?) and you dig salty flavors, this Easy Homemade Puttanesca Sauce is just the thing for you!Homemade Puttanesca Sauce

So, here’s a little lesson in Italian for you: alla puttanesca means in the style of a prostitute. I’m not sure what the connection is here, but this sauce is pretty easy

(BA-doom TSS!)

Don’t throw tomatoes at me. You’ll need them for the sauce.

It truly boggles my mind that I hadn’t tried this pasta dish until recently. For one, I love pasta (just like everyone else on this planet), and second, I absolutely LOVE salty flavors. Considering this sauce comprises kalamata olives, capers, and anchovies, it’s pretty friggin’ glorious. If you’re not okay with the use of anchovies, no worries – you can omit them. I’ve stumbled upon several recipes that didn’t use the ‘chovies, but I wasn’t having any of that. I shamelessly like my salty bits with extra salt.

In addition to all of those wonderful salty bits, garlic is a prominent flavor in this dish. And, if you like to spice things up alla puttanesca (EH-ohhh!), crushed red peppers are encouraged!

Cutting the acidity in a tomato sauce

When I started making homemade tomato sauce, acidity was a big problem for me. After trying several methods, my go-to is baking soda, because science. Baking soda neutralizes the acidity. A little goes a long way, so add it bit by bit. I typically sprinkle in about 1/2 teaspoon and that does the trick without mucking up the flavor of my gravy, baby. A tablespoon of butter stirred into the sauce prior to serving doesn’t hurt either. A creamier tomato sauce will never be acidic! So, butter safe than sorry?

Homemade Puttanesca

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Get the Recipe:

Easy Homemade Puttanesca Sauce


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced,
  • 6 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4.5 oz grape tomatoes, approx. 1 cup
  • 35 oz can whole peeled Italian tomatoes w/ juices, crushed by hand
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 leaves basil, ribboned
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon butter, optional
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish, optional


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the garlic, anchovies, crushed red pepper, and grape tomatoes. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant. (approx. 5 minutes.)
  • Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and juices.
  • Add the sugar, basil, olives, and capers.
  • Season with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to approx. 3 cups.
  • Taste, and season to your liking.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir until it melts (optional). This adds a wonderful touch of creaminess and can also lend a hand in reducing any acidity. (See notes.)
  • This sauce keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days.


1. If you find the sauce to be too acidic, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to neutralize the acidity. It will not affect the flavor.
2. If you find the sauce too runny (it happens!), sprinkle in 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch. This will help thicken the sauce without altering the flavor.