Based on the classic Naples pasta sauce, ‘Puttanesa’ this puttanesca pizza recipe combines savoury, salty, spicy, punchy flavours with soft chewy pizza dough. This flavour packed pizza, with salty anchovies and olives, sharp capers and heat from chilli flakes is our current pizza obsession!
Why we love this recipe
- Made from store cupboard ingredients.
- If you love anchovies on pizza, this is the pizza for you!
- Easily adapted to suit individual tastes – take the anchovies off for a vegetarian pizza, or the anchovies and cheese off for a delicious vegan pizza.
- Anchovies – use anchovy fillets in olive oil. They are plump and juicy, and the right level of saltiness. If you aren’t a fan of anchovies, use a small tin of tuna as an alternative. If you like punchy flavours but no anchovies this vegan puttanesca pasta salad is a delicious alternative.
- Tomato sauce – use this pizza sauce recipe, shop bought pizza sauce, or passata.
- Dough – Homemade Dough or if you are in a hurry, yeast free dough for pizza in under 30 minutes.
- Mozzarella – Use fresh mozzarella rather than grated, it will melt better. Here I have used bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), you can also use baby bocconcini.
- Olives – black olives or kalamata olives work best on this pizza.
- Capers – I use capers in vinegar, but capers in brine or salted capers also work – make sure to rinse them before use.
- Fresh Basil – adds a lovely fresh and fragrant touch to the pizza, the sweetness cuts through the saltiness from the other ingredients.
How to make pizza puttanesca
- Make garlic oil.
- Roll out pastry.
- Spread with tomato sauce.
- Drizzle over garlic oil.
- Top with black olives and capers.
- Top with mozzarella and dried chilli flakes and bake.
Olives, capers, red onion, herbs such as basil and oregano.
Some say the name for the pasta sauce originated in brothels, as a quick meal to cook between clients; others say it is named after the aromatics, the pungent scent of anchovies, capers and olives smelling like a mid 20th century prostitute. Others believe it was invented in a restaurant when some customers asked the owner to make them something out of whatever ingredients he had left.
The Italians use them when making pizza sauces, and also use them in vinaigrettes or in dips such as Bagna Cauda.
Add a couple of anchovies to lamb dishes, make some tapenade (which is made with olives and capers too), or add to pasta dishes.
My recipe tips for success
- Don’t omit the garlic oil step – this adds an extra layer of flavour to the pizza.
- For a cheese free pizza, leave off the mozzarella (it’s still delicious!)
- Make sure the oven is fully heated before you put the pizza in. This will help the dough to rise and become soft and fluffy with golden crispy edges.
- For extra spice sprinkle these pickled chillies over the top just before serving.
The big bold flavours of this anchovy pizza is not really to younger kid’s tastes, so I use the dough and pizza sauce as below, then halve the amounts of anchovies, olives and capers and make one pizza with them and make one pizza into a margherita.
- Store leftover pizza in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Leftover olives: make this mushroom tapenade (also uses capers) or fig and rosemary tapenade.
- Leftover Capers: vegan dan dan noodles, Greek salad (also uses olives).
Other pizza recipes:
- 1 pizza dough, or 2 bought bases ($0.93 /£0.45p)
- 1 homemade tomato sauce, or passata ($1.31 /£0.55p)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed ($0.26 /£0.05p)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil ($0.16 /£0.08p)
- 220g (7.5 oz) mozzarella ($3.15/£0.77p)
- 20-24 Kalamata olives, halved ($0.48/£0.35p)
- 2-3 teaspoon capers ($0.26/£0.09p)
- 8-12 anchovies ($2.25/£0.44)
- fresh black pepper ($0.01/£0.01)
- chilli flakes, optional ($0.02/£0.01)
- 8-12 fresh basil leaves, optional ($0.50/£0.15)
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C fan / 220˚C / 392˚F convection / 428˚F
- Mix the crushed garlic with the olive oil in a small bowl.
- Cut the dough in half and roll out one half of the dough into a circle.
- Place on baking sheet/pizza stone.
- Spread over half the tomato sauce and then half the garlic oil.
- Sprinkle over half the olives, capers and anchovies.
- Add half the mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle with a little back pepper and chilli flakes, if using.
- Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Place the pizzas into the hot oven and cook for 10-14 minutes, until the cheese and melted and the edges are golden.
- Tear the basil (if using) and sprinkle over the pizzas.
- Serve straight away.