Shrimp Puttanesca


I am joining the chorus today and singing the praises of a well-stocked pantry.  I always keep on hand diced tomatoes and anchovies, which are convenient for whenever I feel like throwing a twenty-minute pasta dish like a pasta puttanesca.  This salty, briny, spicy pasta sauce is one of our favorites.  To bring it to weekend ‘woo food’ levels, I added shrimp and used squid ink linguine I purchased at the monthly ‘Mercado Urbano’ in the Condado area of San Juan.  The ‘Mercado Urbano’ is a very cool open air market for local farmers and artisanal food producers, sponsored by Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce; it’s usually held on the first Sundays of the month.  

My version of shrimp puttanesca sauce omits the olives (I go caper-crazy) but feel free to add them if you’d like after mixing in the tomatoes. I’m a purist and didn’t add cheese, but DH grated copious amounts of Parmesan into his dish and I’ve learned to ignore it.


Serves 2, with generous seconds.

The Base

  • 1 2 oz. can of anchovy filets in olive oil
  • From 1 pinch to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on heat preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 medium onion, chopped in 1″ pieces (larger/chunkier – I think it plays well with the size of the diced tomatoes)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

In a large sauteé pan, over medium heat, empty the entire contents of the anchovy filets can.  Add the red pepper flakes and oregano and bring up to temperature, adding a litlte bit more olive oil if you need/like.  When the mixture is fragrant and the pan is hot, sautee the onions for a couple of minutes.  Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are soft and the garlic fragrant.

The ‘Meat’

  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste

Add the tomatoes and the capers to the sauce base, breaking up the tomatoes.  Season the sauce with salt and black pepper to taste.  Allow the sauce to simmer for ten minutes – a great window to start cooking the pasta.

Shrimp Puttanesca

The Lagniappe (la ñapa – a little something extra)

  • 12-15 raw shrimp (peeled, deveined and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper)

Stir the shrimp into the sauce until cooked.  Make sure they do not close up completely; if they curl into a full circle they are probably overcooked.  Grilling the shrimp and serving on the side would be a great option too, but I like that they add to the seafood-y feel of the dish.

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

9 Responses to “Shrimp Puttanesca”

  1. Vicki @ WITK
    April 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    I think I’ve got everything except the anchovies! Maybe I can make a stop at the italian grocer before I head home 🙂 Yum!

  2. yummychunklet
    April 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    This looks so good I could eat it without the pasta!

    April 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    I love that first photo! It made me hungry! That is one wholesome, hearty meal… yum!

  4. Liz
    April 13, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Oooh, the squid ink linguine makes this such a stunning dish…wow!

  5. Elaine
    April 14, 2011 at 3:48 am #

    I have never made puttanesca, but this dish looks like something we would really enjoy! Well…not sure about the squid ink linguine. 🙂

  6. sensiblecooking
    April 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    The squid ink pasta with spicy sauce who can resist that. Any thing with pasta is a winner for me but this dish give a break to normal pasta routine. Onion, garlic, pepper flake, anchovies dinner tonight. Yum.

  7. Chris's Gourmet Fashion
    April 15, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    I love your pasta dish. The squid ink linguine with the tomato and shrimp sauce are such a great combination. Capers is one of my favorite things too … I keep adding them all over the place.

  8. briarrose
    April 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    What a beautiful dish. I love the pasta you used.

  9. Jessica
    May 31, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    Found you on foodbuzz! This looks sooooo good, please visit my Cajun blog at

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