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If you want a rich and tasty gluten free pasta dish which tastes like summer and is ready in 15 minutes, say hello to my Penne Puttanesca.
This delicious tomato sauce is flavoured with garlic, anchovies, olives, capers and chilli to create the perfect sunshine dinner.
It's a 15-minute wonder and the Puttanesca sauce is really easy to batch cook and freeze for some easy meal prep too.
Puttanesca is just such a simple meal with a salty, spicy sauce and I absolutely love it!
Even if you're not a fan of anchovies or capers it's worth trying - the flavours are not overpowering but they all meld together into this beautiful sauce.
Usually you find Spaghetti Puttanesca but I find gluten free penne a lot easier to cook (anyone else find the gluten free spaghetti just clumps together!?).
Plus if you shop around you can find gluten free pasta pretty cheaply - try Asda and Morrisons own brands or Tesco's Clubcard prices.
This makes this meal a nice budget-friendly dinner and one which would suit a pescatarian diet too.
What is Penne Puttanesca?
Puttanesca sauce is a tomato-based sauce flavoured with garlic, chilli, anchovies, olives and capers.
It's a pretty simple dish and quick to prepare, and 'penne' refers to the tube-like pasta shapes used.
Of course I use gluten free penne and you can actually use any pasta shape you like - but I like how the sauce fills the tubes!
Here's a fun fact for you - did you know that the Italian word for 'whore' is 'puttana' - meaning this roughly translates as 'pasta in the style of a whore'?
Don't let that - or the fact that 'putida' means 'stinking' in Latin - put you off though!
Much like my Gluten Free Slutty Brownies, the filthier the name, the yummier the food.
I enjoyed reading this blog post about some of the theories behind the name, including that it was made for men visiting brothels in the mid-20th Century.
Another theory is that it was once named 'pelle alla marinara', which was throw together by a chef who had only a few ingredients in the kitchen.
Either way, whether it was invented in a brothel or not, it's absolutely delicious!
There's a printable recipe card below with the quantities and method, but here are the main ingredients for my gluten free Penne Puttanesca.
It's also where I make any suggestions for substitutes if you want to change anything!
- Gluten Free Penne Pasta - I tend to either get my gluten free pasta from Morrisons or Asda where it's cheapest, but Tesco also do good value pasta. Any shape will do - traditionally Puttanesca is made with spaghetti but I prefer to use penne.
- Garlic - I am lazy so I always use frozen chopped garlic for ease. If using whole garlic, you'll need 3 cloves peeled and finely chopped. A garlic paste would also work well.
- Chilli Flakes - chilli flakes or red pepper flakes are what gives this dish it's spicy kick! You can omit them if you really don't like the heat, or just add half the amount for a mild flavour.
- Finely Chopped Tomatoes - in my opinion nothing beats Mutti Finely Chopped Tomatoes and I just love keeping the tins to plant fresh herbs in! That being said, they are pricey, so to keep the cost down you can use a cheaper tin of chopped tomatoes. Keep them chunky if you like or chop them up finely before adding to the sauce for a better texture.
- Anchovy Fillets - I tend to buy these in Lidl when they do their Italian Week as they're always cheaper! Roughly chop them up before adding and they'll melt into the sauce to give it a lovely salty flavour. I don't think it tastes fishy at all so if you're not keen, try it before you decide to omit them next time!
- Black Olives - Traditionally Puttanesca is made with Kalamata Olives. You can happily use these but I find buying black olives is cheaper and still delicious. I buy the jars of pitted black olives and use those for best value for money. Green olives will work if it's all you have or you don't like black olives. That being said, I do sometimes see jars of pitted Kalamata olives on offer so keep an eye out!
- Capers - These add a unique flavour to the sauce and are just delicious. Any leftovers can be tossed in salads or used to make homemade tartare sauce.
Is puttanesca dairy free / vegan?
Because this sauce uses anchovies it is not vegan.
You can omit them and the sauce will still be delicious - but it won't be the same!
Puttanesca is dairy free but just ensure you use a vegan hard cheese to serve if you want to add this.
How to cook gluten free pasta
I just wanted to also share a few quick tips on cooking gluten free pasta as it behaves differently to 'normal' pasta.
Always make sure the water is boiling before adding the pasta, then once added try to bring the water back to the boil as quickly as possible.
Make sure while you bring it back to the boil, you keep stirring the pasta so it doesn't form a giant clump.
And most importantly - drain the pasta as soon as it is cooked!
If you overcook it or just leave it in the water it can often turn to sludge and there's often no way back from that.
If your pasta is ready before the sauce, you can drain it then toss it in a little extra virgin olive oil to ensure it doesn't stick together in the colander.
My gluten free Penne Puttanesca recipe
Here it is - my super easy, 15-minute, budget-friendly, gluten free Penne Puttanesca.
This recipe serve 2 but you can easily reduce or increase the quantities to make more or less of it.
I also highly recommend doubling the sauce so you can have a batch in the freezer to reheat and eat another night.
And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.
- 300g gluten free pasta
- 2.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 3 tsp chopped garlic
- 2 x 400g tins finely chopped tomatoes
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 5 anchovy fillets (chopped)
- 120g black or Kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Fresh Parsley (chopped) to serve
- Boil a pan of salted water and once boiling, cook the pasta as per the pack instructions. Make the sauce while the pasta is cooking.
- Add the olive oil to a large pan and place on a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and fry for 2-3 minutes until soft.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, chilli flakes, chopped anchovy fillets, olives, capers and tomato puree and mix well. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook until the pasta is done.
- Strain the pasta and then add to the sauce, stirring well to coat it. Serve with a sprinkling or chopped parsley and a generous helping of Parmesan cheese!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 594Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 981mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 15gSugar: 13gProtein: 12g
Need more gluten free recipe inspiration?
Here are some more gluten free dinner recipes you can try out once you've made this Penne Puttanesca recipe.
If you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!
Like this Penne Puttanesca recipe?
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