Puttanesca with Shredded Chicken

What is your favorite Italian dish?

This Italian Puttanesca is loaded with garlic, anchovies, kalamata olives, capers and red pepper flakes ~ with a bit of shredded chicken for a great Italian dish.

You know what I love about Puttanesca?  It’s garlic-y, salt-y, pasta-y self.

Puttanesca | Inspiration KitchenIt feels like a hearty pasta dish, but it’s light somehow.

This is not your traditional Puttanesca, because I added the Slow Cooker Crock Pot Shredded Chicken I shared with you a few weeks back.

Remember how I told you that I refuse to be afraid of anything?  Well…, in this dish, I conquered another fear.  Anchovies!  w00t!  I did it!  🙂

Puttanesca | Inspiration KitchenAnd, I’m sssooo glad I did.  Because it wouldn’t have been Puttanesca without them.

Although I have to tell you ~ as I was chopping them up and they crunched a bit, I’ll admit I cringed with every single slice of the knife.  But…, I put my big girl apron on, and worked through it.

Isn’t that the way it is with fears?  You need to work through them?  Accepting them easily doesn’t come naturally or they wouldn’t be much of a fear, right?

Yet, you plow through them, and the next thing you know…you’re eating anchovies.  🙂  Who knew?

Puttanesca | Inspiration KitchenBTW, this recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  Feel free to only use 1/2 teaspoon if you’re worried about the spice factor.  This dish is delightfully good either way, because it’s filled with anchovies, kalamata olives, capers, juicy tomatoes and loads of garlic (a.k.a. an Italian lover’s favorite).  Trust me, your kitchen will smell amazing while you’re making this.

This time, I added chicken, but you don’t need to ~ it’s a flavorful enough dish without it.

BTW, don’t be shy about serving wine on the side with this Puttanesca.  It goes great with a dry red wine and warm, crusty, toasted garlic-parmesan bread.

Puttanesca | Inspiration KitchenAnd just to be sure that you don’t smell like a wino, be sure to use BIG cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped, for a nice, ripe garlic breath for later.  Because…you just never know when you might need to breathe on somebody.

Think of it like an Italian breath mint.  🙂


Puttanesca with Shredded Chicken
Italian Puttanesca with garlic, anchovies, kalamata olives, capers and red pepper flakes ~ add shredded chicken for a great Italian dish.
Recipe type: Main
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tin flat anchovy fillets, drained, rinsed and chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 20 kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 to 2 and ½ cups cooked, shredded chicken (optional)
  • ⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente, then drained
  • Grated Parmigiano, optional
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, garlic, anchovies, and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute mixture until anchovies melt into oil and completely dissolve and garlic is tender, about 3 minutes. Add kalamata olives, capers, tomatoes, black pepper, salt, chicken and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Toss sauce with cooked pasta.
  1. Cook per pasta instructions. Set aside.
  1. Toss all ingredients together and top with grated Parmigiano and chopped parsley.

Recipe modified from Food Network @ Pasta Puttanesca.


  1. says

    This looks delicious! And I don’t think I’ve every tried anchovies either but since you conquered your fear of them, I’ll try it in your honor!! By the way, I’m not sure if you said that you actually liked them or not! 😉 But ya know what I DO like: pasta with red peeper flakes and a nice glass of red wine to go with it. So move over, because I’m ready to eat! 🙂
    Renee@Two in the Kitchen recently posted…Peanut Butter Brookie CupsMy Profile

  2. says

    Italian food is my fav kind of food EVER. I can never get enough pasta (or anything carbs) in my life. 😀 I’ve never tried puttanesca before, but it sounds and LOOKS totally fabulous! I could so get into this pasta for dinner sometime soon! 🙂

  3. says

    This here is a restaurant-worthy dish — it’s gorgeous! You described it so well that I want a big bowl and it’s only 8:47 in the morning! You’re right, it wouldn’t have been the same without the anchovies. I’ve gotten over my anchovy thing a while back with Caesar salad and a few other things, and while they don’t smell too nice, they certainly add so much to dishes like this. Love this, and pinning! Have a great weekend, Kristi! 🙂
    marcie recently posted…Pumpkin Cake RollMy Profile

  4. says

    So gorgeous! And I love the addition of your slow cooker shredded chicken – brilliant! And super easy to make, too! Game on – totally pinning! Now about those anchovies … and your “big girl apron” (as always you are totally hilarious!) … I already love anchovies (even sometimes on pizza), so I’m totally stoked that they’re lurking in this pasta sauce! They’re so salty-umami-yummy, and they really just melt away into sauces like this … I’ll bet know one would ever even know they’re in there unless you told them! They’d just think “Wow! What a delicious sauce!” 😀 Oh – and can I be all food-blogger-geeky for a sec? The third pic down, where the bowls of pasta are reflected perfectly in the wine glass? LOVE it!!!
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens recently posted…Easy Homemade Applesauce (With a Deliciously Healthy Twist!)My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Shelley! I can’t believe you like anchovies on pizza! I may have put my big girl apron on to cut them up for this sauce, but trying them on a pizza. Whoa. Let’s not push it! 🙂 And, food-blogger-geeky unite – I love the reflection in the glasses too! So glad you noticed. Thanks for the pin – have a great weekend!!!

  5. Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com says

    You are inspiring me, because I am totally scurred of anchovies! Maybe this will help me be brave and give them a try–because it certainly looks and sounds delicious!
    Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com recently posted…Apple Cider FrittersMy Profile

    • says

      Hahaha! Me too Elizabeth – the good news is, they sort of dissolve in the sauce, so if you can get past the cutting them up, just toss them in the sauce and they’ll dissolve. So you get all the goodness without having to actually see them. 🙂

  6. says

    Lol! Get it girl!! Anchovies definitely require big-girl aprons! I’ve never tried them but I am reading a book about the history of salt and, obviously, salted fish plays a huge part in it, and I have found myself really wanting to try them! And they are supposed to be super good for you. Win!

    This pasta looks delicious! I’ve never made a puttanesca but it is absolutely on my list! Pinned!
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking recently posted…Caramel Apple CupcakesMy Profile

  7. says

    Yay, way to go, so proud of you for tackling those anchovies and showing them whose boss 🙂 I love puttanesca sauce but have never made it at home before so next time you make this I’m coming over and we can chow down on a big plate of this amazing pasta, laugh over a glass of wine and see whose Italian breathe mint is stronger 😉

    • says

      Thanks Marye! Since it’s just the two of us, we get to be very flexible in what we eat. If I had a family that wasn’t a fan, we couldn’t make it either – so I completely understand.

    • says

      I completely understand Julie! The smell and the crunch when chopping them was almost to much for me, but I had to get over my fear! And, I’m glad I did, because the taste was amazing. But come over darling, and I will make it for you! 🙂


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