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Pasta Puttanesca
with chickpea and arugula salad

Active: 35 minTotal: 35 min
20140207 pasta puttanesca nm 2.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

'Puttanesca' means something worthless, and this Italian sauce came about when a chef was scrounging around his pantry for basic tomato sauce ingredients and all he could find were tomatoes, olives, and capers. Today, we use this traditional sauce over pasta and sauteed cauliflower. If you're just not that into olives and capers, omit them and try for artichoke hearts, frozen peas, or spinach. Served with a bright arugula salad, this will be a lovely, rustic meal.


Pasta Puttanesca:
  • Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
  • Cauliflower - 1 head, chopped ((use more if you want more veggies))
  • Parsley - a few sprigs, chopped
  • Olives - 1 cup, sliced ((Use less or omit if you're not an olives fan or sub artichoke hearts))
  • Pasta - 1/2 lb ((like penne, fusilli))
  • Cooking oil - 2 Tbsp
  • Diced tomatoes (28 oz / 794 g can) - 1 can, drained
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Capers - 3 Tbsp
  • Parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup, grated
Chickpea and Arugula Salad:
  • Garbanzo beans - 2/3 cup, rinsed & drained
  • Shallots - 1/4 bulb, minced
  • Red wine vinegar - 2 Tbsp
  • Dijon mustard - 2 tsp
  • Olive oil - 3 Tbsp
  • Arugula - 6 oz ((or use your favorite salad greens))

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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  1. Garlic / Cauliflower / Parsley / Olives - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
  2. {For salad} Chickpeas / Shallots - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)


  1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Salt heavily (that water should taste like the ocean!) and add pasta. Cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Whisk together shallots, vinegar, Dijon, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  3. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil and then cauliflower with a dash of salt. Saute for 4 to 6 minutes. Then add in garlic, tomatoes, sugar, and capers. Cook until cauliflower is tender, 2 to 4 more minutes.
  4. Add cooked pasta and olives to pan. Toss to coat.
  5. Toss vinaigrette with beans and arugula or other mixed greens. Serve with pasta. Top pasta with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.

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This meal has 8 reviews

I added a little chicken to please my meat-loving husband and served with regular salad instead of the chickpea and arugula salad. Very simple to make and we have plenty of leftovers.

By: Aishah
Posted: Sep 12, 2014
Diet: Original

Super easy to make, very simple and delicious.

By: Christopher
Posted: Mar 07, 2014
Diet: Original

2.5 stars. It was okay, but not super exciting.

By: Kim
Posted: Feb 24, 2014
Diet: Original

We didn't make the salad but the pasta dish was easy and flavorful. We added grilled chicken to ours.

By: Lainie
Posted: Feb 22, 2014
Diet: Original

Thought this was great. We subbed the artichoke hearts in for the olives and thought that was great. I can see how it would be delicious with olives, too, but roommate won't eat them! :) Also, that salad is rockin'. Sooo good!

By: Jessica
Posted: Feb 21, 2014
Diet: Original

Loved the cauliflower and olives! Great pasta and salad.

By: Katherine
Posted: Feb 20, 2014
Diet: Original