AK canning jar

Puttan-what-a?  Yep, it has a goofy sounding name, but let me tell you, it is delicious!  This is a a traditional Southern Italian sauce (with a naughty name.  Eh-hem!) invented in the mid-ish 20th century.  It is tangy, a little salty and usually contains tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers and garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.  Yay!  Recipe will differ depending on tastes and region.  Some people add anchovies or chili pepper.  It is almost always served on spaghetti, though I love it on any gluten free pasta and really like it on slices of toasted gluten and dairy free French bread or when used as an unexpected pizza sauce.  Yum!


This recipe makes a BIG batch and is cooked in the slow cooker, for maximum ease of preparation.  I also have instructions for how I freeze the extra sauce for another day so I can make dinner quickly on those busy school nights.  Enjoy!


If you would like to use fresh tomatoes, peel, seed and chop 1 and 1/2 times more than the amount called for in the recipe ( i.e. to replace 14 cups, you would need 21 cups fresh peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes.  I know!  That would be a lot!  Whew!)  Then, cook the tomatoes down in an uncovered slow cooker on high or in a pot on the stove until cooked through.  This should reduce by half when done.


Free printable recipe card to make multiple batches. 

Free printable freezer labels for Puttanesca Sauce

The Recipe: Slow Cooker Puttanesca Sauce with freezer storing instructions (OAMC)

Add one pound of fresh or frozen shrimp (thawed, peeled and deveined) to half of the sauce for Shrimp Puttanesca Sauce, and a tasty seafood meal!


  • 14 cups diced tomatoes, about four 28 ounce cans or about 3 quarts home canned tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste, about 3 ounces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, pitted and chopped, divided
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh Italian, flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained or rinsed of salt if salt packed
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste, optional
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil, crushed or 3 tablespoons minced fresh
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed or 1 tablespoon minced fresh
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • salt, to taste


  • In a 6 quart slow cooker, mix together all ingredients, except for half of the olives. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Stir in the remaining olives and cook on high for 20 to 30 minutes uncovered.
  • Serve half for dinner and freeze one batch: Remove half of the sauce and allow to cool. When cool, place sauce into a gallon sized freezer bag, removing as much air as possible, label and freeze. Or allow entire batch to cool and package in two bags to store for two meals. If serving 4, you can divide the sauce into 3 quart sized bags.
  • To serve: Thaw. Heat through until bubbly.