Born in Naples, the largest city of the Campania region, puttanesca is a gutsy, tomato-based sauce, made with plenty of chilli and garlic. Traditionally, puttanesca is also made with anchovies sourced from the Bay of Naples, which provide the signature deep, savoury flavour of the sauce. We feel, though, that the inclusion of plump, juicy olives and capers, salty and savoury in their own right, is more than ample to give this sauce its characteristic saline flavour. The simple omission of anchovies renders an equally delicious (and gutsy) vegan puttanesca sauce.
The backstory of pasta alla puttanesca, is similarly full of character. The term "pasta alla puttanesca" literally refers to pasta made "in the manner of a prostitute" - it is commonly understood that the dish was born in the case di appuntamenti ("appointment houses") of Naples. We hope you’ll be able to infer the meaning of an "appuntamento", so we needn’t utter it. As preparing the puttanesca sauce was a labour of mere minutes - indeed, simply "throwing whatever together" - this could be done between other, er, obligations...
Our vegan puttanesca sauce recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Calories per serving: 452kcal
- 400g vegan pasta*
- 400g crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 60g pitted black olives, roughly chopped
- 60g pitted green olives, roughly chopped
- 25g capers, drained
- 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- A handful of fresh basil, finely shredded
- ½ fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- Black pepper, to taste
*Want to make your own fresh, vegan pasta from scratch? We have a handy guide to homemade vegan pasta, and it’s easier than you’d think!
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat 1tbsp olive oil. Add the minced garlic, and sauté until fragrant, being careful not to burn the mixture. Add the chilli, and allow this to infuse into the oil.
- Add the olives, capers and basil, then add the tomatoes. Half fill the empty can with water, and add this to the pan too.
- Stir to combine, and allow the mixture to simmer for around 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Once thickened, taste and season with cracked black pepper accordingly (note the omission of salt here - the naturally salty olives and capers should provide enough of a saline kick to the dish).
- 10 minutes prior to serving time, bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add your vegan pasta, and cook according to instructions, until al dente.
- Strain the pasta, ensuring to reserve a little of the starchy pasta water. Add the pasta to the pan containing the sauce, as well as a splash of the pasta water. Toss until the pasta is well coated.
- Plate and garnish with a scattering of fresh basil, and enjoy. Buon appetito.
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