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Spicy “Puttanesca” with Oriecchette Pasta, Nicoise olives, and Pecorino Romano

We think Puttanesca is one of the most underrated pastas. It's simple yet boasts layers of flavor depth. The Nicoise olives and capers add a salty, briny flavor to the slightly spicy red pepper and tomato sauce. The flavorful sauce clings to the al dente Oriecchette pasta making every bite the intensely flavorful. A healthy topping of Pecorino Romano gives the dish a savory finish and fresh basil adds a refreshing, herbaceous flavor.

Cook Time: 25 Min Vegetarian

About the Dish

  • Red Pepper Flakes

    Red Pepper Flakes

  • Garlic


  • Shallot


  • Basil


  • Canned Tomatoes

    Canned Tomatoes

  • Capers


  • Turbinado Sugar

    Turbinado Sugar

  • Orecchiette Pasta

    Orecchiette Pasta

  • Pecorino Romano Cheese

    Pecorino Romano Cheese

  • Parsley


  • Dried Basil

    Dried Basil

  • Olives



Please read entire recipe card before beginning.
Place a medium-large saucepot 2/3 full of water on high heat, add a pinch of salt and cover if possible. Proceed to the next step (this is your pasta cooking water).
Place the oil, crushed red pepper, garlic, shallot and dried basil in a large saucepot on medium-low heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes while stirring continuously. Next add the tomatoes, capers, olives, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high, bring the sauce to a simmer and turn back down to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes. Proceed to the next step while the sauce is cooking.
The water for the pasta should be boiling by this point, add the pasta to the water and stir continuously so the pasta does not stick to the pot or to itself. Cook the pasta for 7-8 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Prior to draining the pasta remove 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid, set aside. Drain the pasta in a colander but do not rinse. Return the pasta back to the pot you cooked it in and set it back on the stove.
Once the sauce has cooked, taste it and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. It will probably be a little salty but that is intended. Add the sauce and the reserved pasta cooking liquid to the pot with the pasta and stir to incorporate. Cook on medium for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
Divide the pasta on two plates, top with the pecorino romano, parsley and fresh basil. Enjoy!