Spaghetti Puttanesca With Cannellini Beans 6.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Sep 24, 2018

This is the OG spicy, pantry-based pasta dish, with white beans added for protein. It may sound heretical, but there's no need for the traditional anchovy with all the other flavor-packed ingredients going into the mix.

Salt-packed capers are more flavorful than brined, but if you use brined, just drain them without soaking.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked or no-salt-added canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (from one 14.5-ounce can)
  • One 28-ounce can pureed or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil-packed black olives, chopped (may substitute Kalamata olives)
  • 1/4 cup salt-packed capers, soaked in warm water for at least 15 minutes and drained (see headnote)
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, add a generous pinch of salt and then reduce the heat to low. Cover to keep it hot while you make the sauce.

Pour the oil into a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, for 30 seconds.

Stir in the cannellini beans, tomatoes, olives and the drained capers. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until the sauce darkens, thickens and the flavors meld. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice; taste and add more salt, as needed. Keep covered over the lowest heat setting.

While the sauce is cooking, increase the heat under the large pot of salted water so it returns to a boil, then add the spaghetti. Cook according to the package directions, until al dente.

Drain, toss with the sauce and serve right away. Garnish each portion with more parsley.

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Recipe Source

From Food and Dining editor Joe Yonan.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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