Pasta Puttanesca with Hot Sausage and Bocconcini

Pasta Puttanesca has a dark and murky past! It’s said to have origins with Italian “ladies of the night” who used the pungent aroma to lure men into their lair. The story goes on to say they were too busy to shop for fresh ingredients or spend a lot time cooking. The result was a quick dish made exclusively from pantry ingredients.

The classic dish is made with a salty, spicy mix of anchovies, garlic, capers, olives, hot red chiles and tomatoes. In the short amount of time it takes the pasta to boil the sauce can be made.

Since I’m neither a tart nor too busy to shop or cook I expanded the original recipe to include meat. With the addition of hot, crumbled Italian sausage the dish becomes worthy of a ‘main’ dish title that any man would love.

I used tiny, mild-flavored mozzarella balls called bocconcini to add a delicious counterpoint to the bold and sassy flavors of the sauce. They bring a milky creaminess to the party that acts as a cooling agent and gives a brief respite from the dominant spiciness.

If only those “tarts” had slowed down long enough to add a little meat to their sauce – business might have been better! Meat is the ultimate man food and attracts men like bees to honey. Or maybe, just maybe, they were looking for true love. We’ve all heard the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!

Pasta Puttanesca with Hot Sausage and Bocconcini

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 - 5 servings

Pasta Puttanesca with Hot Sausage and Bocconcini

Pasta puttanesca with capers, anchovies, tomatoes, hot Italian sausage and bocconcini.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound hot Italian sausage, ground or removed from casings
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovies or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste, optional
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning dried herb mix
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 cup pitted olives, chopped (green or salt-cured black or a mix)
sea salt and fresh black pepper
13 ounces – 1 pound linguine
1/4 cup fresh basil or parsley, chopped
8 ounces Bocconcini, sliced in half*
Parmesan cheese, grated for serving


  1. In a large, deep-sided skillet heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat; add sausage, onion, garlic, anchovies, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Break apart the sausage as it cooks into bite-size pieces.
  2. When sausage is browned add tomatoes, capers and olives. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Cook linguine according to package directions in plenty of salted water to al dente.
  4. Mix fresh herbs and bocconcini into sauce and toss immediately with drained spaghetti. Serve with plenty of fresh Parmesan cheese.
  5. *You can find bocconcini (little mozzarella balls) on the salad/olive bar of your market or in the specialty cheese section.


Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved. No copying or duplication of any content (including photos) without the express written permission from the owner of this website.

I’m sending this to Debbi of Debbi Does Dinner, the host of this week’s Presto Pasta Nights.

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  1. says

    Reeni, your pasta looks fabulous, and I sure would have the anchovy paste in it…it sure makes a perfect meal. Have a great week!

  2. says

    You read my mind.. I was thinking, this looks amazing but what the heck is bocconcini!? I sure do hope they have it in our olive section at the grocery!

  3. Sage Trifle says

    Puttanesca is one of our favorites, but I haven't made it in quite a while–thanks for the reminder. Yours sure looks delicious and I love your additions.

  4. Swathi says

    I like the idea behind making this pasta, look delicious, if it helps for a date night, I should try then.

  5. The Food Hunter says

    Great photo of a delicious looking pasta dish. I love the added bocconcini balls.

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