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No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce Over Pasta - An authentic, delicious and simple sauce! A taste of Italy in your own kitchen!

I grew up avoiding any dish or recipe that included anchovies. My dad loved them – but I just couldn’t get past the look of those little fishes packed in their small flat cans! So when I learned that my husband Jack grew up on (and completely raved about) some classic Italian pasta dishes like Alici and Puttanesca – I reluctantly agreed to give anchovies another try!

And…I was proven wrong. While you still won’t catch me eating anchovies straight out of the can – they do add a fantastic and very authentic “Italian” flavor to recipes like our No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce Over Pasta!

No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce Over Pasta - An authentic, delicious and simple sauce! A taste of Italy in your own kitchen!

Puttanesca is Italian for “worthless” and this delicious sauce is believed to have originated in the 1950’s when chef Sandro Petti combined “any kind of garbage” together to make a sauce for some late-arriving customers at his restaurant.

This particular version is a recipe that Jack helped to develop many years ago during his food service days. A guest chef in his kitchen came up with the idea of serving a puttanesca sauce as part of a pasta sauté station – but to make the line move more quickly, they created this recipe as a fresh, no-cook puttanesca sauce that was then served over hot pasta.

The heat from the pasta ‘cooks’ the sauce just enough to bring out the wonderful flavors of the tomatoes, olives and capers – but not so much that you lose the wonderful freshness of the tomatoes! And the anchovies? Trust me – you’ve got to include them! This pasta dish wouldn’t be the same without them – they add a terrific and distinctive flavor that is truly amazing!

Served along with some grated Parmesan cheese, this No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce over Pasta is also great served at room temperature (perfect for when you need a make-ahead dish) – and any leftover puttanesca sauce is also pretty fantastic eaten cold on a fresh salad! (Jack will also tell you that he caught me sneaking a few spoonfuls right out of the refrigerator!)

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No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce Over Pasta - A Family Feast

No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce Over Pasta

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Cooking time listed is the time it takes to cook the pasta served as part of this dish.


  • 12 ounces uncooked pasta (any type, we used Cellentani)
  • 1 2-ounce can of anchovies
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons drained and rinsed capers
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 pound fresh garden ripe tomatoes or one 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup oil cured olives pitted and roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, drain the anchovies and place them in cold water for a ten minutes. Then drain and dry. Set aside.
  3. In a mortar, place garlic and the pinch of salt and crush to a paste. Alternately, you could do this on a cutting board with the side of a knife pressing over and over into a fine paste.
  4. Add the anchovies and continue to work into a paste.
  5. Add the capers and about a teaspoon of the oil and continue to work into a paste.
  6. Add the remaining oil and half the parsley and continue to work into a paste. Set this aside.
  7. If using fresh tomatoes, place a strainer over a medium bowl. Core tomatoes and cut in half on the horizon and squeeze the seeds into the strainer. Then push the seeds and pulp around the strainer to extract all juice. Discard seeds. Cut the tomatoes into rough pieces and add to the juice. If using canned, pour into a medium bowl.
  8. Add the contents of the mortar to the tomatoes and stir.
  9. Add the chopped olives and stir again.
  10. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. You may not need the salt depending on how well you rinsed the anchovies and capers.
  11. Drain the hot cooked pasta and return to the pot. Add this sauce and heat just to serving temperature.
  12. Serve with the rest of the chopped parsley and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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  • ATasteOfMadness wrote:

    I love a good pasta recipe. This looks SO good!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you!

  • Colleen (Souffle Bombay) wrote:

    We are Puttanesca fans! No-cook?? Love it – that first image is gorgeous! I too have developed a liking for a touch of anchovy.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Colleen! I’m definitely a convert to adding the anchovies to certain dishes!

  • Jessica (Savory Experiments) wrote:

    I do love a good Puttanesca and love pasta during the fall months. Can’t wait to try!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy it Jessica!

  • Lana@NeverEnoughThyme wrote:

    I always enjoy a good puttanesca sauce, but I’ve never had a no-cook one. This recipe is very intriguing to me as I can imagine exactly what you’re describing with the hot pasta just barely warming the sauce ingredients. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Lana! Please let us know how you like it!

  • Lauren Kelly Nutrition wrote:

    This looks absolutely incredible!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Lauren!

  • Amanda @The Kitcheneer wrote:

    I am always up for an amazing pasta dish! I might have to give anchovies another try!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Amanda! Definitely give them another try – it adds great flavor!

  • Brenda@Sugar-Free Mom wrote:

    I love Puttanesca sauce and that this is no cooking is even better!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Brenda!

  • ashley wrote:

    This sounds great and I just love the colors in this dish!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Ashley!

  • foodwanderings wrote:

    No cook sauce sounds so good. whirl is food processor or chop and voila! Puttanesca is a favorite!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you!

  • Carol wrote:

    My father LOVES anchovies and would want it on pizza, which made the WHOLE pizza stink!!! We finally told him he had to get them “on the side”. One year for Father’s Day, as a joke I gifted him six cans of anchovies — he LOVED it!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Carol! That sounds exactly like my Dad! Anytime we ordered pizza, he’d get anchovies on them! (Which I hated…) Thanks for writing to us today!

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