My mom always told me this was Sophia Loren’s pasta recipe…


I can neither confirm or deny, but it’s easy and perfect for hot weather cooking.

Pasta Puttanesca

4-6 minced cloves of garlic

4 anchovy fillets

A good handful of fresh basil, like five sprigs or a cup — chopped

A dash of red pepper flakes (I don’t like things so hot I can’t taste anything else and my upper lip breaks out into a sweat, but if you do add a half a teaspoon.)

2 Tablespoons minced capers

1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives

One of those big cans of Italian tomatoes, they’re usually 28.2 ounces, whirl it up in the blender so it becomes a soupy purée

One pound pasta

Olive oil

This is how you make it. It only takes a few minutes. First put a ton of salted water up to boil and cook a pound of pasta for about ten minutes. While that is going on, pour a generous amount of olive oil in the bottom of a pan and saute the anchovy fillets (squish them with the back of a fork), garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, olives, and capers until everything is kind of melded together and fragrant. Keep an eye on this, the garlic should just become golden, and then pour in your tomato purée. Mom would always add a pinch of sugar to the sauce, I think it’s gross, I leave that decision to you. Simmer until the pasta is done. Drain the pasta. Place the pasta in a big bowl, toss with the sauce and serve.

Remember Ms. Loren’s quote: “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” I can’t exactly say the same, but I do know pasta and complex carbohydrates produce endorphins. So get happy and treat yourself to some noodles.

Subscribe to Podcast


  1. June 5, 2014

    This is one of my favourite pasta dishes. Haven’t made it in an age.

    • June 5, 2014

      I even like it for breakfast the next day, cold!

      • June 5, 2014

        That would be good.

  2. June 5, 2014

    Sounds great! Do you have reason to believe it’s true that this was Loren’s recipe?

    • June 5, 2014

      I’m going to quote a friend who worked with Ms. Loren:
      “I worked on Grumpier Old Men – one day, Sophia made pasta and her sauce for the entire crew – this recipe could have been it – beautiful, gracious, and a great cook!! She also insisted that the Producers allow the crew wine with lunch.”

      • June 5, 2014

        OK, not enough for Pawn Stars, but it’s enough for me.

  3. June 5, 2014

    I think it might have been a bit of a jokey… “puttanesca” means “of the whore”, as you know.

    • June 6, 2014

      I do know—and nothing but love for Ms. Sophia—she is one elegant broad! I think she’s written two or three cookbooks, I need to find one…

  4. Melissa @ Swamp of Boredom
    June 7, 2014

    Do you have a preference on the type of pasta, or do you use whatever is on hand?

    • June 7, 2014

      #11 spaghetti, I’m a traditionalist 😉 !

  5. July 3, 2015

    Now I know what to make for dinner! I love Puttanesca sauce (and the potential Hollywood connection just makes it even better). Thanks for sharing it!

    • July 3, 2015

      Thank you! I stayed up until 1a.m. reading your book a couple of nights ago! Have a wonderful 4th 🙂 . (Would you like me to reblog your post sometime in the next couple of weeks on: Amelia Elkins Elkins: A New Retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion?)

      • July 4, 2015

        I hope you enjoyed it! Thank you for giving it a chance. It’s so nice of you to offer to reblog my post. If you don’t mind doing that, I would greatly appreciate it! THANK YOU!

  6. July 6, 2015

    Is it terrible that I mostly read the recipe because of that gorgeous picture of the beautiful Ms. Loren?

Comments are closed.