Shrimp Puttanesca With Bucatini Recipe

A traditional puttanesca is a bold mixture of flavor made up of olives, capers, tomatoes, garlic, and, most importantly and controversially, anchovies. The tiny, tinned fish are notorious for being pungent, but also so savory they create umami when dissolved into sauces. Still, the infamously salty pizza topping isn't an easy sell, especially as the main protein of a dish. Our solution? Using plump, juicy shrimp, which turn puttanesca into an elegant — but still punchy — pasta dinner. D

Recipe developer Michelle McGlinn shares her method for a perfect, easy shrimp puttanesca with all the rustic flavors of the original, minus the anchovies — though we won't blame you for adding them in anyway. Hearty, comforting, and just seafood-infused enough without being overly fishy, this shrimp puttanesca with bucatini doesn't require too many ingredients and is pretty straightforward in terms of cooking. Even those who don't cook pasta often or are pretty unfamiliar with seafood can master this dish, one that's sure to become part of your dinnertime routine again and again.

Gathering ingredients for shrimp puttanesca with bucatini

Puttanesca is meant to be a fairly cheap, pantry-staple based meal, so before you go shopping, check your cabinets at home. Some pantry staples you may already have, like olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Other ingredients might already be on hand, too, like Parmesan, parsley, and pasta. We love thick, hollow bucatini for this dish, but spaghetti, linguini, or angel hair will work just as well. From there, you'll need a pound of shrimp — we like medium to large for this dish — black olives, cherry tomatoes, and capers.

Step 1: Boil the bucatini

Cook bucatini in salted boiling water per package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.

Step 2: Heat oil in a skillet

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.

Step 3: Cook the shrimp

Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet.

Step 4: Add tomatoes

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and the tomatoes to the skillet.

Step 5: Burst the tomatoes

Cook until tomatoes burst, about 5-10 minutes. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.

Step 6: Add the remaining ingredients

Add the garlic, capers, olives, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to the skillet and toss until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Step 7: Toss with shrimp and bucatini

Return the shrimp to the skillet with the bucatini and toss to combine.

Step 8: Toss with pasta water

Add ¼ cup of the pasta water and toss to combine. If needed, add more water a splash at a time until saucy.

Step 9: Serve

Toss with chopped parsley and Parmesan to serve.

What pairs well with shrimp puttanesca?

Puttanesca is a filling dish with plenty of flavor, so it's not uncommon to serve it on its own. This particular puttanesca recipe is lighter than usual thanks to the fresh cherry tomatoes, which make a bright, chunky sauce instead of a more heavy marinara. You can serve this dish alongside easy, classic sides such as garlic bread, roasted vegetables, and leafy Caesar salads (which also make good use of anchovies), or you can make a Neapolitan feast out of the meal instead. Serve puttanesca with mozzarella on toast (buffalo mozzarella, if possible), caprese salad, or eggplant Parmesan.

Add vegetables to the meal by browning broccoli rabe or sizzling slices of zucchini with lemon. Or, double up on the seafood and serve with tender octopus or brothy mussels and clams. Shrimp puttanesca begs to be the star of the meal with its punchy, bold flavors, but can hold its own alongside other bold dishes and rich cheeses. One thing we recommend steering clear of? Pizza — yes, we said it; it's best to save the other carb-and-tomato heavy Italian favorite for another night.

How should you store leftover shrimp puttanesca?

Pasta dishes are notoriously hard to store, and puttanesca is no exception. Pasta has a way of absorbing broths and sauces, often leading to dry and sauceless leftovers. If you are planning in advance to have leftovers, make the sauce separately from the pasta and toss only what you need together in a separate bowl. Store the rest of the sauce, including the shrimp, in its own container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Store any cooked and unused pasta separately in sealable containers in the refrigerator.

To reheat, gently microwave the sauce until warm, or simmer gently on the stove until lightly bubbling. Heat the pasta slightly, then toss with the rewarmed sauce. This way, there is still plenty of sauce to coat the noodles — and after a few days in the fridge, it probably tastes even better than before.

Shrimp Puttanesca With Bucatini Recipe
5 from 19 ratings
Traditional puttanesca often features anchovies, but this recipe swaps in juicy shrimp for a less polarizing option.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
22
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
shrimp puttanesca in a bowl
Total time: 32 minutes
Ingredients
  • ½ pound bucatini
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 (6-ounce) can black olives, drained
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Directions
  1. Cook bucatini in salted boiling water per package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet.
  4. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and the tomatoes to the skillet.
  5. Cook until tomatoes burst, about 5-10 minutes. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.
  6. Add the garlic, capers, olives, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to the skillet and toss until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  7. Return the shrimp to the skillet with the bucatini and toss to combine.
  8. Add ¼ cup of the pasta water and toss to combine. If needed, add more water a splash at a time until saucy.
  9. Toss with chopped parsley and Parmesan to serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 543
Total Fat 24.3 g
Saturated Fat 4.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 185.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 49.3 g
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g
Total Sugars 3.5 g
Sodium 726.8 mg
Protein 33.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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