The concept behind this tray-bake recipe was born out of the live kids-cookalongs for families I started online in 2020, and it proved to be one of our most popular dishes with viewers–and with good reason! It’s the ultimate in convenience cooking as everything just goes into the sheet pan (yes, even the dried spaghetti!) and 30 minutes later dinner is served! —Theo A. Michaels

One-Pan Spaghetti Puttanesca FAQs

Is this spaghetti puttanesca healthy?

The tomatoes and garlic in this recipe offer up a good amount of antioxidants. And the sardines give you a punch of protein and lots of omega-3 fatty acids–helping to offset the carbohydrates from the pasta. Not all of us get our proper intake of fatty fish, this recipe with its sardines (rather than anchovies) goes a long way toward that.

I can’t stand sardines or anchovies. What can I substitute?

I hear you. I can’t bear to eat sardines out of the can. But here, they melt into the dish, offering a wonderful mouthful of umami, and you don’t really taste them. Yet if that still doesn’t convince you, try tuna packed in oil. (Find tuna that says “tonno” on the label.)

A tray of one-pan spaghetti puttanesca

One-Pan Spaghetti Puttanesca

5 / 6 votes
It’s the ultimate in convenience cooking as everything just goes into the sheet pan (yes, even the dried spaghetti!) and 30 minutes later dinner is served!
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories646 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes


  • 11 1/2 ounces dried spaghetti
  • 1 medium (8 oz) yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • One (3 1/4-oz) can pitted black olives, drained and halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • One (14-oz) can cherry tomatoes (or substitute fresh cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 3/4 cups warm chicken stock
  • One (5 1/2-oz) can sardines in oil, drained and oil reserved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Place the spaghetti in a roasting pan or 9- by 13-inch baking dish, then scatter over the onion, garlic, olives, capers, raisins, and hot red pepper flakes, if using. Pour in the olive oil, massaging it over the spaghetti to ensure it is coated.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes in their sauce, tomato paste, warm chicken stock, sardines, and season with salt and black pepper. Use a fork to mix all the ingredients together, breaking up the sardines a little as you do (but keep them fairly chunky). Drizzle the oil from the sardines over the top. The spaghetti should be submerged below the liquid by about 1/2 inch (12 mm).
  • Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, then remove and leave to rest for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to finish cooking and absorb the last of the liquid.
  • Once done, use a fork to loosen the spaghetti and garnish with freshly chopped parsley. If it’s too thick, feel free to add a splash of hot water, or if too loose, leave it in the oven for 5 minutes more.
Canned Cookbook.

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 646 kcalCarbohydrates: 83 gProtein: 25 gFat: 25 gSaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 15 gCholesterol: 49 mgSodium: 946 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 10 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Theo A. Michaels. Photo © 2021 Mowie Kay. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

What’s not to like about this one-pan spaghetti puttanesca? It’s easy, quick, inexpensive, healthy, colorful, and fresh! I was worried that the sardine taste would overwhelm the dish, but this did not happen. The flavors were well balanced. 

The first thing I did at the beginning of the prep was to soak the capers in cold water, then drained them to remove excess salt. Also, I put the raisins in very hot water to plump them up, then drained, before they were baked.

I used my food processor heavily. The only things I cut were the black olives and fresh parsley. First, I pulsed fresh cherry tomatoes and set them aside. Next came the onions, then the garlic. At the end, I pulsed the capers. Next I dumped in the black olives and drained raisins. So easy! 

I think this one-pan spaghetti puttanesca qualifies as a genius life hack kind of recipe! I was curious enough to try the recipe based on the method, but once I combined everything in my 9- by 13-inch ceramic baking dish to put in the oven, I was kind of thinking, this might be a disaster. But everything came together so amazingly!

Each element was cooked perfectly–pasta, onions, etc. I was definitely a little worried about the onions but they were tender. And the raisins were a nice little compliment to all the briny elements. I thought ‘why haven’t I ever made pasta like this before?’ Well, I will now!

I did utilize the pepper flakes, and instead of canned cherry tomatoes, I used fresh. This was an oversight and I did not realize the recipe called for canned until I was in the midst of prep. I don’t know that I have ever seen canned cherry tomatoes available in the grocery store. I am glad that I ended up using fresh ones because they were tender and juicy cooked just right–they burst in your mouth pleasantly. To compensate for some of the missing sauce, I did add 2 more tablespoons of tomato paste. The leftovers of this dish were JUST AS GOOD. The pasta was not dried out the next day. I think the oil helped with that a lot.

Wait, did I just make pasta puttanesca while checking emails? Yes, I did! I was skeptical at best when I decided to test this tray bake recipe. I was expecting unevenly cooked spaghetti swimming in a pool of watery sauce. Not only was I wrong, but I was impressed by how perfectly the recipe worked as written.

While I warmed the chicken stock in the microwave I got the rest of the ingredients out and ready in my 13- by 9-inch ceramic lasagna dish—the next 30 minutes my mind was elsewhere until the alarm prompted me to take the spaghetti out of the oven. I left it alone for five minutes during which I set the table and got the crusty bread out.

The pasta was perfectly and evenly al dente from end to end—a miracle! The savory sauce was delicious with a touch of sweetness from the raisins and heat from a big pinch of red pepper flakes. I would absolutely make this again. And now that I have a rough pasta-liquid ratio to use as a guide, I can’t wait to experiment with my own variations, like replacing the sardines with tinned tuna in oil.

What a recipe! It uses ingredients that most of us have on hand. It goes together in a flash. The instructions were spot on and the consistency and flavor were fantastic! This will be a go-to pasta for me and is a perfect mid-week dinner. I used salad bar olives, and would do so again. Adding the sardines with their oil, immediately after the 30 minutes roasting, worked perfectly. They warmed through nicely during the 5 minutes rest. When adding canned fish to pasta, I always add it when the pasta is cooked and let the residual heat warm the fish though. This prevents any “fishy” taste from happening. Next time, I want to try this with anchovies, instead of sardines…options are good!!!

I used a deep round roasting pan, instead of a sheet pan. The spaghetti was submerged, but slightly less than 1/2-inch. At the end of roasting, the pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce was just the right consistency. A salad and good bread are the perfect accompaniments…and wine is always a friendly companion.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    So happy to discover this recipe. Pasta notes: used Rustichella Bucatini and feared that it might be underdone. Not so, perfectly cooked. Suggest sticking with 9×13 pan and pasta that cooks in 10-12 minutes per package instructions. Pandemic subs: Trader Joe’s Handful of Olives (2 packets), sardines in tomato sauce. Finished with garden basil and grated Parm. Thanks so very much for special pasta dinner with low effort using pantry ingredients.

    1. Wonderful, Malia! We’re so pleased that this turned out so well for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. All went well, except some of the spaghetti strands did not cook through and were hard at the end. Any clues as to what I should do next time?

    1. Thanks for letting us know, David. Make sure that the spaghetti is fully submerged in the liquid and evenly dispersed when you put it in the oven and keep an eye on it. If it’s becoming too thick and there isn’t much liquid in the pan during baking, add a splash of water. Once the cooking is finished, check a few strands of the pasta and if it is very firm or if the pasta is dry, add a little water and pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes more. Hopefully, that will make certain all of the pasta is tender next time.