Spaghetti and Puttanesca Sauce

Spaghetti and Puttanesca Sauce is always a favorite at my house.  The sauce is spicy and sweet, and bursting with the flavor of tomatoes and basil.  Enjoy it with garlic bread and a fresh caprice salad.

Spaghetti with puttanesca sauce, although not a Japanese dish, can be found in many cafes and restaurants in Japan.  The Japanese have developed a taste for Italian food, and pasta dishes can be found almost anywhere in Japan.

I have made this dish for friends and family and have refined it over the years.

This version uses a blend of ingredients that each lend a unique taste and texture – anchovy paste and capers for saltiness, basil and garlic for spice, honey for sweetness, and chili bean paste for heat.

I hope that you enjoy this pasta dish as much as we do in my house!

Spaghetti and Puttanesca Sauce

This spicy pasta dish is made with garlic, chili, anchovy paste, capers, olives, honey, basil, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and mushrooms.  You can add more chili paste to heat it up or more honey to sweeten it.  Vegans can omit the anchovy paste and enjoy this dish as well.

Puttanesca sauce can be enjoyed with any type of pasta, not just spaghetti.  Many cafes serve it with penne or rigatoni.

It is important to peel the tomatoes to prevent the skin from breaking apart in the sauce.  At the beginning of the instructions I share an easy method with you for peeling tomatoes.  You can use the same method for making tomato soup.  Make sure to take the stem off of the tomatoes before mixing them into the sauce.

20 mins 45 mins 4 plates
PREP 20 mins
COOKING 45 mins
YIELD 4 plates


  • 4 large,fresh tomatoes
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBSP anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp chili bean paste (tobanjam)
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, diced finely
  • 3 TBSP capers, drained
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 6 white button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin (80g)
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 lb of your favorite spaghetti


Peel Tomatoes

  • Cross-cut the tomatoes.  Put in boiling water for 3 minutes.  The skin will start to lift off in the water.  Drain the tomatoes and peel by hand under cold water.

  • Cut each tomatoes into 6 wedges and set aside.

Prepare the Sauce

  • Sauté the garlic in the olive oil in a large frypan over medium high heat until the garlic is browned and the oil is infused with the garlic.

  • Chop up half of the basil and add to the oil along with the anchovy paste, chili paste, capers, sundried tomatoes, and honey.  Continue to sauté for another 3 minutes.

  • Add the diced tomatoes.  Continue to cook over a medium high heat, mixing the tomatoes and breaking them apart with a wooden spoon.

  • Once the tomatoes are combined and soft throughout, add the olives and mushrooms.

  • Continue cooking over medium high heat for 10 more minutes.  Add the remaining whole basil leaves, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.  While waiting, prepare the pasta in accordance with the direction on the package.

  • Plate the pasta and top with the sauce.  Sprinkle with shredded Romano cheese and fresh basil to taste.


Enjoy this dish with your favorite pasta.

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