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