Fresh Cherry Tomato Puttanesca

After a beautifully blue-grey and blustery Pacific Northwest day, this simple pasta dish – rich with olives and cooked down tomatoes – is a perfect dinner for a cozy evening at home.

Beach Walk

This recipe comes from the talented folks at Cooks Illustrated. 

Fresh Cherry Tomato Puttanesca
Fresh Cherry Tomato Puttanesca

In a bowl, combine 3 T olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 T anchovy paste, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp dried oregano (if you have fresh from the garden, that works too). Process 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes for about 15 to 45 seconds in a blender until they’re finely chopped, but not pureed. Move the tomato mixture to a fine mesh strainer set in a large bowl, and let it drain for 5 minutes. Press the tomatoes from time to time to extract about 3/4 cup liquid. Keep both the tomato liquid (in the bowl) and the tomato mixture (in the sieve).

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot and cook the pasta until al dente. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and put it back in the pot.

While the pasta’s cooking, cook the garlic-anchovy mixture in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant but not brown – 2 or 3 minutes. Add the tomato liquid and simmer until it’s reduced to 1/3 cup – 2 or 3 minutes. Then add the tomato pulp, 1/2 cup roughly chopped, pitted kalamata olives and 3 T capers and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until it’s heated through. Stir in the parsley.

Cook Down the Tomatoes
Cook Down the Tomatoes

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to adjust the consistency. Season with salt to taste and serve immediately.

Fresh Cherry Tomato Puttanesca
Fresh Cherry Tomato Puttanesca


  • 3 T olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T anchovy paste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 pounds grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound curly pasta
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

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Seattle Foodshed

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