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Penne Puttanesca

Get Spicy With This Delicious Pasta Recipe!

By Christina Guidoccio

I love Penne Puttanesca.

I remember my Nonna making it for me when I was young. I developed a real taste for it and recently embarked on some kind of quest to find the perfect recipe.

Most recipes I’ve found are lacking in the general flavor and spiciness that makes this recipe what it’s supposed to be. So I decided to make my own!

This recipe isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re not into spice, you’ve come to the wrong place. The spice can be scaled up (brave!) or down (boo!) according to taste. Habanero peppers are spicy little devils, but they hurt so good! Arm yourself with a glass of milk and a loaf of bread—you’re going to need it!penne


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 12 kalamata olives – chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion – chopped
  • 3–4 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1 habanero pepper – seeded and diced (***Wear gloves, or make sure to wash your hands promptly after chopping/handling the habanero pepper, and avoid touching your eyes!***)
  • ½ jar of capers in oil
  • 1 tsp each of parsley, basil, oregano
  • 1–2 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bag of penne rigate.

* Traditionally, Penne Puttanesca calls for anchovies. I don’t personally like them, but if you want to stick to tradition, add one 45g can of anchovy fillets, washed with milk (to remove some of the fishiness) and chopped.


  1. Set water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Strain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan.
  3. Add garlic—avoid burning.
  4. Add onions and sauté for a few minutes until onions become translucent.
  5. Throw in the diced tomatoes, olives, capers, and habanero pepper.
  6. Add parsley, basil, oregano, red chili flakes, salt, and pepper.
  7. Sauté for approximately 10 minutes, stirring often. You want all the flavours to have a chance to come together.
  8. Pour the cooked pasta into the sauce mixture and stir. Heat through.
  9. Serve with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and plenty of bread!

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