Pasta puttanesca is a very simple pasta dish that consists of crushed tomatoes, capers, dark olives, and fresh Italian herbs. Traditionally this dish contains anchovies. In my version, I’ve taken those out not only because that just sounds gross, but it’s also not vegan.
You will not miss the anchovies (did you even think you would?) The olives and capers will give you plenty of flavor. Also, since there isn’t any fish, you can use vegan parm. There’s some kind of rule in Italian cuisine that says you don’t use cheese in fish dishes. To be fair, cheese and fish doesn’t sound like a good mix anyway. Bleh!
- 1 pound spaghetti (brown rice or other gluten free choice)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano tomatoes)
- ½ cup kalamata olives, rinsed with water if it was sitting in brine
- 2 tbsp capers, rinsed with water
- 1-2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves removed from stem
- fresh Italian parsley for garnish (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, get your spaghetti cooking. Boil for 1 minute less than your package says to for al dente pasta.
- While that cooks, get all your other ingredients prepped. Heat up the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of black pepper and salt. Saute until the garlic is golden.
- Add the can of whole tomatoes, juice and all, the olives and capers. Break up the whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon. This will be easy, the tomatoes are very delicate. Break them up until you have a crushed sauce.
- Add more salt and black pepper to taste and turn the heat down to a simmer once it starts sputtering. Leave it to simmer, stirring occasionally until the pasta is ready. Taste the sauce once more before the next step to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
- When the pasta is done and barely al dente, drain it well and add it to the sauce along with the fresh oregano. Toss the pasta a bit in the sauce to get it coated. Continue simmering for another minute or until the pasta is cooked.
- Serve and garnish with the optional fresh parsley.