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Spaghetti alla puttanesca

December 9, 2009

My version. I grew up with this dish and started making it from memory in adulthood. I use a lot of tuna to make it high in protein as I need lots of protein and not so many carbs myself.

The “raw” ingredients. This is one of the very few things I make that has a lot of canned and boxed food.


Finished product in a real pasta bowl from Italy that I grew up with in my home. It’s a bit large for the quantity of pasta I made but it’s pretty!


So the ingredients:

  • 1 large red onion diced
  • Garlic to taste (I go with pretty much a whole bulb—this is of course according to taste)
  • Large bunch of parsley chopped up
  • Pesto–that’s the funny looking green thing next to the bowl of tuna—it’s about a quarter cup of frozen pesto—I made it from last years crop of basil from our garden. If you’re using fresh basil, which would be better, also use a large bunch.
  • Anchovies in olive oil—the whole can chopped up fine. Use the olive oil when you cook your onion and garlic…it’s yummy.
  • Olive oil–an additional tbls or so
  • Capers (3 heaping tbls)
  • Kalamata Olive tapenade (3 heaping tbls)— I used this because I didn’t have fresh whole olives. Whole pitted olives cut into thirds are better!! I like chewing on those bits of olives and really tasting them. In this sauce the tapenade disappeared into the sauce and while it still tasted really good, it would’ve been better with a high quality black olive chunks. My favorite are oil and salt cured black olives. They have a very sharp distinct flavor and not everyone likes them. The tapenade, though, is also very easy. No pitting and cutting of olives so it’s convenient.
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans tuna fish
  • I used 8 oz of Quinoa Spaghetti. I’m allergic to wheat and find the texture of this pasta much better than rice pasta. It’s almost as good as the real thing, though it’s been so long I may not accurately remember anymore!
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste and you might want to salt the water that you cook the pasta in, but if you don’t like salt much or you have to watch your intake, skip that because the capers, anchovies and olives all have a lot of salt.

So saute the onion and garlic until lightly browned in the olive oil. Add the pesto, capers and olives and saute for a couple of minutes with the garlic and onion. Then add the tomatoes, tuna and the parsley and cook until it comes to a boil and then immediately turn it off. I like this not to cook too long.

That’s it.

Bon apetit.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2009 4:45 pm

    Looks great! This is one of those things I keep meaning to make for myself. My girlfriend wouldn’t touch it, she’s not a tuna fan.

    • December 9, 2009 8:27 pm

      you can always freeze extra sauce for lonely nights when your girlfriend isn’t around…I love this sauce

  2. Wandering Coyote permalink
    December 9, 2009 8:21 pm

    Looks fabulous, MJ! I love the pretty pasta bowl, too!

    • December 9, 2009 8:28 pm

      I grew up with that bowl…it’s an authentic italian pasta bowl that I removed from my house at some point or another

  3. December 9, 2009 11:03 pm

    Another outstanding pasta dish, no doubt! I like the Kalamata Olive touch as well. =)

  4. December 10, 2009 6:39 am

    What a great pasta dish! I love puttanesca sauce, especially your protein-ed and pesto-ed up version. I dont’ think I’ve ever seen a version quite like this, although it sounds excellent. I’ll take my carbs in abundance…and my proteins as well!

  5. December 10, 2009 3:19 pm

    I love tuna can!That looks delicious! Great pictures.

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