Hearty Puttanesca Pasta Sauce

Hearty Puttanesca Pasta Sauce is our take on a Neapolitan classic.  While staying mostly true to the classic version, Hearty Puttanesca Pasta Sauce replaces canned tomatoes with tomato paste, yielding a thicker, heartier sauce which really clings to the pasta.  The addition of toasted pine nuts, a subtle and rich nuance, brings unexpected yet wonderful flavor and texture to the sauce and we substitute fish sauce for mashed anchovy fillet. Serve Hearty Puttanesca Pasta Sauce over a fancifully-shaped pasta; we recommend radiatore, cavatappi or gemelli, for yet another level of interest.  Start with a simple Wilted Arugula Salad before moving on to the main course accompanied by a Nero d’Avolo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Sangiovese. Mangia e Buon Appétito!

Hearty Puttanesca Pasta Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes, Total Time: 45 minutes. Serves 4 as a main course.

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  • 4 Tbs Pine Nuts
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tb finely minced fresh Rosemary leaves
  • ½ Tb minced Garlic
  • 1 Tb pitted and minced Oil Cured Black Olives*
  • ½ cup finely chopped Onion
  • ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes or more to taste
  • 1 Bay Leaf, preferably fresh
  • 1 Tb Capers in brine, drained
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce*
  • 6 oz Tomato Paste
  • ½ cup dry Red Wine
  • 1 Tb fresh Parsley leaves, minced
  • 3 oz dried Pasta, Radiatore, Cavatappi or other special-form shapes suggested, per person


  1. Scatter the pine nuts in the bottom of a 2-quart saucepan over a medium heat. Shake and toss, uncovered, for two minutes until the pine nuts are toasted a light brown. Pour the toasted pine nuts into a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stems, finely mince and set aside.
  3. Mince the garlic, pit and mince the oil cured black olives, and finely chop the onion; combine and set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, add the pasta to it, stir and cook until al dente.
  5. Return the saucepan used to toast the pine nuts to a medium heat and add the extra virgin olive oil to it. As the oil begins to heat, add the rosemary and sauté until fragrant, about two minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, olives, onion and crushed red pepper flakes to the saucepan, mixing the ingredients thoroughly, cover and sauté for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the toasted pine nuts, bay leaf and capers, and fish sauce to saucepan, stir together, cover and continue to cook over a medium heat for two minutes. If it is cooking too quickly, lower heat and add a tablespoon or two of the pasta water.
  8. Add the tomato paste and red wine to the saucepan, mix very thoroughly, and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes.
  9. Drain and plate the pasta in individual wide, shallow bowls. Remove the bay leaf, spoon Hearty Puttanesca Pasta Sauce over the pasta, sprinkle the minced parsley over the pasta and sauce and serve immediately. Dress with combined grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses at the table.

Hearty Puttanesca Pasta Sauce


  • Crinkly, shiny Oil Cured Black Olives bring an intense, deep olive flavor to any recipe in which they are included; they also make a great snack and addition to an antipasto platter. Oil Cured Black Olives can be purchased in supermarkets, Italian and Middle Eastern specialty markets and online.
  • Fish Sauce is the clear, brown liquid given off by salted, fermented anchovies. Fish Sauce is ubiquitous in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, adds a deep umami element to dishes and is an easy substitute for anchovy fillets in recipes. We recommend 3 Crabs brand; the flavor is perfectly authentic, not overly salty and it does not contain caramel or any other coloring agent.

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