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Bowl of Italian Puttanesca

Low carb Italian Puttanesca

This is a low carb version of the Italian dish of Puttanesca which is a rich tomato based dish with anchovies, olives, capers and spices generally served with pasta. This recipe uses spaghetti squash as the bed for this bold, rich Puttanesca.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword low carb Italian, low carb puttanesca, puttanesca
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 229kcal


  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves tightly packed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 28 oz peeled, plum tomatoes
  • 2 fresh tomatoes if available
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste or two anchovy filets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olives pitted & coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 3 tsp smoked tomato vinegar alternatively use 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 spaghetti squash If not low carb, use 1 lb of pasta of your choice
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated (can use Romano cheese)


  • With a sharp knife, mince together the basil, garlic, and hot pepper flakes with the coarse salt and set aside (Alternatively, mash together with a mortar and pestle)
  • In a large skillet or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and lightly caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic-herb mix and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the remaining 6 ingredients through the pepper and simmer until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced (about 15 - 20 minutes). This can simmer while baking the spaghetti squash (or cooking the pasta).
  • Bake the spaghetti squash in the oven for about an hour at 375 F. (Or cook the pasta in rapidly boiling water, stirring often, until there is no raw flour taste (about 7-10 minutes for penne). Using a fork, remove the strands of squash (or drain the pasta if using pasta)
  • Put the spaghetti squash strands (or the drained pasta) in a large pot and place over medium heat. Spoon most of the Puttanesca sauce into the pot and cook a few minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Taste for seasoning, and garnish with some chopped basil and grated parmesan or romano cheese and serve. Place small bowls of extra sauce, and extra cheese to pass around for individual tastes.



Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 12g | Iron: 2mg