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Pasta Puttanesca

Our healthy chef, Mary Ross, creates a light and spicy authentic Italian sauce with pasta in minutes.

Recipe for Pasta Puttanesca

Yield: 6 – 2 ½ cup servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 to 30 minutes


3 to 4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1/8 to ¼ tsp. red chili flakes   

8 anchovy fillets (one 2-oz. can) – optional

3 tbsp. capers – optional

1 28‑oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 6-oz. can tomato paste

½ cup water, light-bodied red or white wine 

½ cup Mediterranean or domestic black olives, sliced

¼ cup fresh basil, shredded or chopped (or ½  tbsp. dry)

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

6 cups cooked capellini (angel hair) or spaghettini pasta (12 oz. dry pasta)

6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese  

1. If using, rinse anchovies, pat dry with paper towel, coarsely chop, and set aside. If using, rinse capers in cold water, drain well and set aside.

2. Spray the surface of a large stick-resistant skillet or stock pot with cooking spray and heat on medium high for 2 minutes. Sauté garlic, onions, and chili flakes, together until onions become tender, 3 to 4 minutes. If using, also add anchovies.

3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, choice of olives, and water or wine to pan and bring to gentle boil, stirring often. If using, also add capers. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes to an hour. At the end of cooking time, stir in olive oil and basil. 

4. While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to boil add pasta. Stirring often, cook pasta until al dente (still somewhat firm) according to package directions.

5. Drain pasta well, divide into six 1 cup portions and top with 1½ cups sauce and 1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese.

Nutrition Information: 6 – 2 ½ cup servings at 350 Calories; 8g Fat; 13g Protein; 57g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 612mg Sodium.

Related: Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

While you’re here, see other recipes created by SelectHealth chef Mary Ross.

If you have questions about SelectHealth medical or dental plans, read more about what plans we offer.    


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The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Post Author

Mary Ross

Mary is currently a Marketing Account Specialist and has been with SelectHealth for six years. She spends a lot of her time doing what she loves the most—teaching people how to cook healthy meals.

You can frequently see Mary on local television stations demonstrating how to revamp popular recipes by using healthy substitutions and cooking techniques.