Pasta alla "Puttanesca Bianca"

Recipe 5 minPreparation Time 25 minCooking Time
Pasta alla "Puttanesca Bianca"

Pasta alla "Puttanesca Bianca"

5 minPreparation Time 25 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

This easy dish arose one evening when I was craving penne alla puttanesca but had no tomatoes. Undaunted, I took the remaining ingredients and essentially made a simple pasta salad with them, but served it hot. It hit the spot. True story. Feel free to let this marinate a bit and take it to a picnic or potluck, because it functions handsomely as pasta salad too (and in that case don’t be shy about adding some giardiniera, chopped arugula, more herbs, and/or a little good wine vinegar).

The Benefits

Durum wheat is high in protein, and the host of pungent aromatics all contribute vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats.


Serves 4
  • 1 lb (450 g) penne rigate, or other short dried pasta
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 dried hot red chile (such as arbol, or similar), thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp (11 g) brined capers, drained
  • 1 handful (35 to 70 g) black olives (gaeta or kalamata), pitted
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Step 1
    Put a large pot of salted water on high heat. Thinly slice the garlic and hot pepper. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and stir it a couple of times to keep any penne from sticking together.
  2. Step 2
    Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the garlic and chile, and use a wooden spoon to stir a few times so that they’re coated in oil. Before the garlic starts to color, about 30 seconds, turn off the heat and let the pan sit to infuse the oil with flavor.
  3. Step 3
    When the pasta is just al dente, remove it to the saucepan with the oil and toss it thoroughly to coat, adding the capers, olives, and parsley. Taste for seasoning, add salt if needed, and twist in several grinds of black pepper. Toss again and serve immediately.

Substitutions: Use any type of dried pasta you like, short or long, and add anything else you have, like oil-cured dried tomatoes.

Level Up: Make cavatelli or orecchiette [links] from scratch instead of using store-bought pasta

Zero Waste: Add parsley stems to stock, or blend with other herbs for pesto or green sauce