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Vegetarian Penne alla Puttanesca

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.

You probably already have everything you need for this hearty Sicilian pasta in your pantry. Anchovies are a traditional component, but even this vegetarian version has the trademark briny flavor of the sea, thanks to the bold capers and olives.


  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest (from half a medium orange)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • One 28-oz. can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed and quartered
  • 2 Tbs. capers, rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. whole-grain penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 500
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 160
  • Fat (g): 18
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 10
  • Sodium (mg): 1300
  • Carbohydrates (g): 68
  • Fiber (g): 9
  • Protein (g): 15


  • Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, orange zest, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it has almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, olives, and capers. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain well.

    Pour the pasta into the skillet and toss with the sauce. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

Serve with a mixed green salad and Bruschetta Topped with Warm Goat Cheese.


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Reviews (7 reviews)

  • MommyDot | 08/17/2013

    Very good, nice brine taste to distinguish this dish from heavier saucier dishes. I guess that's what makes this Sicilian. since i don't like olives, i used double capers and it worked fine. Highly recommend!

  • 405tulips | 11/11/2012

    This is a great pasta sauce.

  • morganmom54 | 04/19/2012

    Fast, easy, and I had all the ingredients in my pantry and fridge. Thought my husband wouldn't like it cause of the olives, but he loved it. I loved it too and will definitely make it again. Took about 30 minutes. The orange zest sweetened the sauce a little. Added about 1/2 tsp salt. Great recipe!

  • User avater
    dineindiva | 09/22/2011

    Quick, easy, delicious. Had everything on hand and nothing planned for dinner - this was perfect. I used a couple of fresh tomatoes and red wine.

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