Puttanesca sauce originated in southern Italy sometime in the 1950s or 1960s. Traditional versions of it include tomatoes, anchovies, olives, caper, garlic and olive oil. The sauce is typically served with spaghetti, though linguine or vermicelli are not uncommon, either.
This version is from the Ball All New book. Ball omits the olive oil, presumably to keep it safer for home canning. They add bell pepper, which one Sicilian variant does use. But, they also add roasted eggplant which, though non-traditional in any version, is a delicious addition.
Owing to the chunkiness imparted to the sauce by the eggplant, you might want to try this with penne or buccatini pasta (which are also traditional with puttanesca.)
And yes, the word “puttanesca” is of scandalous origin in Italian.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Add 1/4 teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice per half-litre (US pint) jar to ensure a comfortably low pH on this.
See all pasta-sauce recipes for canning.
Jar size choices: Half-litre (US pint / 500 ml / 16 oz)
Processing method: Water bath or steam canning
Yield: 6 x half-litre (US pint / 500 ml / 16 oz) jars
Headspace: 2 cm (1/2 inch)
Processing time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 x half-litre (US pint) jars
Serving size: 1 cup (250 ml / 8 oz)
Fat: 4.5 g
- 200 g kalamata olives (1½ cups / 7 oz after prep)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 kg Roma tomatoes (6 lbs before prep)
- 3 red bell peppers (500 g / just over 1 lb before prep.)
- 3 large onions (500 g / 1 lb )
- 1 kg eggplant (2 lbs)
- 500 ml dry red wine (2 cups / 16 oz)
- 125 ml balsamic vinegar (1/2 cup / 4 oz) [OPTIONAL] OR Citric acid OR bottled lemon juice[OPTIONAL]
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste or chopped anchovy strips (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt OR non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 75 g capers, drained (1 jar that is 100 to 125 ml / 3.5 oz, as purchased, then drained)
- Get two large, rimmed baking sheets and line them with tin foil. Don't grease or spray. Set aside.
- Pit and chop the olives. Set aside.
- Peel and mince the garlic, add to olives, set aside.
- Start oven heating to 220 C (400 F).
- Wash tomatoes, core, cut in half and place cut side down on prepared baking sheet.
- Put tomatoes in oven on one rack and start them roasting.
- Spray the second lined baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Wash and stem the peppers. Cut each in half and seed them. Place the halves skin side up on the second baking sheet.
- Leave onion peeled, cut in fours, add to second baking sheet peel sides up.
- Wash and stem the eggplant. Cut into cubes that are about 3 cm (1 inch) square. Add to second baking sheet.
- Put in oven on a second rack.
- Let the tomato sheet bake for about 45 minutes in total, till the tomato skins are just starting to char.
- Let the eggplant and pepper sheet bake for about 30 minutes in total, or until the eggplant cubes are turning golden and the pepper is tender.
- When tomatoes are done, remove from oven and let cool on the pan. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them. Discard the peel. Coarsely chop the tomato, seeds and all.
- Put tomato in a pot that is at least 6 litres (quarts) in size.
- When eggplant and peppers are done, remove from oven.
- Add the eggplant to the pot with the tomato.
- Remove and discard the onion peel, coarsely chop the onion, add to pot.
- Peel the peppers as much as possible. Coarsely chop, add to pot.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the pot including the olives and garlic prepared at the start, but NOT the citric acid or lemon juice if using.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Let simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
- Ladle sauce into heated jars.
- OUR RECOMMENDATION: Add ¼ teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon lemon juice per jar.
- Leave 2 cm (1/2 inch) headspace.
- Debubble, adjust headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Process in a water bath or steam canner.
- Process jars for 45 minutes; increase time as needed for your altitude.
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
For salt substitute, Herbamare Sodium-Free was used as it is non-bitter and non-clouding.
- 3 bell peppers will be about 500 g / just over 1 lb before prep, about 450 g / 1 lb after prep.
- 200 g of the chopped, pitted olives is a 375 ml jar of sliced, pitted ones, after draining
- You may omit the eggplant if you wish, or the capers, the anchovy or the olives. But don’t swap in anything else in their place. Do not reduce the amount of red wine or balsamic vinegar; they are a safety factor.
- If you used field tomatoes instead of paste-type tomatoes, the sauce could get watery. You’d want to simmer for longer than the 15 minutes when it’s all assembled, until you think it’s thick enough for sauce.
- If tomatoes are out of season and / or too dear, you can use instead either 3 litres (quarts) of crushed tomato from a tin or home canned, OR 1.5 litres / quarts of tomato passata (2 x 700 ml jars). Boil the canned tomato down by about one-half OR open the passata, and introduce either at step 15 above, having roasted the other veg but having skipped roasting tomato, obviously.
- Normally, we’d expect something like this to be pressure canned. The reason it’s safe for water-bathing is the red wine in the recipe, which keeps the overall pH low.
- If you are still concerned about the acidity, but don’t want to add the vinegar, you may wish to consider adding instead 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid per jar instead of what would work out to be 1 1/2 tbsp of vinegar per jar. See advice on using citric acid as lemon juice / vinegar equivalents.
Special safety notes
NOTE: October 2016. Ball made adjustments in the online version of this recipe, adding balsamic vinegar (125 ml / 4 oz) and increasing the processing time (from 35 to 45 minutes). The printed version in the book omits the vinegar, and uses a processing time of 35 minutes. We asked Ball through Facebook about this, and got this reply:
Thanks for reaching out to us! Double checked this for you and both recipes are safe when followed. Extra time was added for insurance but you can use either one – it’s up to you.1
The version above reflects their online version, with the added vinegar marked as optional but showing the extra processing time. You could use citric acid instead of the added vinegar; see recipe notes. If you do add the vinegar, you would probably want to use a good quality balsamic, so that the sauce doesn’t taste vinegary as cheaper imitation “balsamic” vinegars can.
Our recommendation? Add citric acid instead (1/4 teaspoon per half-litre / pint jar.) It’s far cheaper than high quality balsamic vinegar, and packs more of a safety punch, to boot. 1/4 teaspoon citric acid had the dramatic effect of knocking the starting pH of the sauce down substantially: from 4.20 to 3.94.
- Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Puttanesca Sauce. In: Butcher, Meredith L., Ed. The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. New York: Oxmoor House. 2016. Page 181.
- Added suggestions for starting with crushed tomato or tomato passata
We measured the pH of this 24 hours after canning in October 2016, with none of the “optional” vinegar added; it showed 4.2 on an equilibrium of solids and liquid combined.
The red wine used was just a bottle of standard table plonk, “Fantini Farnese Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.” It had a tested pH of 3.52 (Measured October 2016.)
Per 250 ml (1 cup / 8 oz)
- 157 calories, 816 mg sodium
Per 250 ml (1 cup / 8 oz)
- 157 calories, 428 mg sodium
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com