While here at Willow we like to call this our best penne puttanesca recipe, other chefs may have different names for it, including “healthiest pasta ever”.
Rich in vegetables with a nutrient-dense tomato sauce, this vegan penne puttanesca is fit for every occasion—all while providing the nutrients you need each day. And the best part? This easy vegan recipe can be completed in less than an hour.
At Willow in NYC every dish is homey and familiar, then elevated with unique flavors and upscale presentation. We’re taking relatable American food and turning it on its head—then making it vegan!
Tips for Recreating Willow’s Vegan Penne Puttanesca
This vegan penne puttanesca is easily recreated at home by nearly any skill level. However, we included two tips for you to explore before cooking in order to help elevate the flavor in your dish and create a natural, easier way to navigate your kitchen if you’re new to cooking.
Use Enough Salt in Your Pasta
But don’t use anything else!
Adding salt to your boiling water is one of the best ways to elevate the taste of your dish by introducing additional flavor into your pasta. This recipe calls for half a cup of salt.
However, while it is important to salt your pasta during the boiling process, you won’t want to add anything else to the water – including oil or butter. While it’s a common myth that adding these ingredients will help keep your pasta from sticking, it will also prevent your sauce from sticking to your pasta. Instead, stir regularly and use the right amount of water to prevent your pasta from sticking.
Tips for Cutting Olives
This recipe for penne puttanesca calls for 10 kalamata olives cut in half. If you’re unfamiliar with dishes calling for anything but whole olives, you may have difficulty learning how to safely approach this cutting technique.
For amateur home chefs who are looking to recreate this classic pasta dish, or those with ailments such as arthritis, using egg slices with an egg slicer, is a great hack. While this will result in a slight alteration to the recipe, it may be a safer—or in some cases pain free—option. You can also manually pull apart the olives, or attempt with a butter knife.
For more advanced chefs, however, you may find the process similar to cutting cherry tomatoes. You can quickly and easily cut all 10 olives needed for this recipe at once by utilizing two cutting boards.
Simply place your olives on one cutting board as normal. Then, place your second cutting board on top of the olives to secure them. After you’re sure you won’t need to worry about your olives rolling around, maintain a steady pressure on the second chopping board and carefully slice the olives in half by cutting through the space created between the two cutting boards.
Best Vegan Penne Puttanesca
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
|1/2 a pack of penne pasta (can be substituted with any gluten-free pasta)|
1/2 shallot chopped
2 cloves of garlic sliced
3 tablespoon olive oil
10pc kalamata olives cut in half
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup tomato sauce
|1 tablespoon wakame dust|
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 oz white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 lemon for zest
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil.
- Add half a cup of salt. The water should taste like ocean water.
- Cook pasta for 6 minutes until al dente.
These steps should be completed while the pasta is cooking. Any cutting should be done before beginning as preparation in order to help with the progression of the recipe.
- Sauté the shallots and garlic with olive oil.
- Add salt once golden brown
- Deglaze the pan with white wine and lemon juice.
- Cook down until 3/4 evaporate
- Add capers and kalamata olives.
- Once liquid is further reduced, add tomato sauce
- Reduce heat.
- Add cooked pasta to the pan with one cup of the pasta water.
- Add the wakame dust
- Stir until the sauce has thickened.
- Add parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Zest lemon on top and serve.
There’s a reason this recipe is known as one of the healthiest pasta recipes. On top of being vegan and gluten-free, it combines several nutrient-rich ingredients that boost flavor and texture while providing the vitamins and minerals you need.
Shallots and garlic cloves, for example, are rich in antioxidants. Both of these ingredients are known to be heart-healthy foods that can improve the cardiovascular system while promoting overall wellness.
The tomatoes in the sauce also provide antioxidants while also providing the foundation for the sauce and a splash of color. The specific antioxidant found in tomatoes, lycopene, has been theorized to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as cancer. Tomatoes also contain vitamins C and K along with folate and potassium.
Though capers and kalamata olives are small, they have a large impact on this dish. From their rich flavor to their texture, these ingredients create the consistency needed to balance the sauce and the pasta. They also provide a boost of antioxidants as well as vitamins A and E. Kalamata olives, in particular, are a powerful source of iron and calcium, two important nutrients often missing in a vegan diet.
Even with such a small serving in this dish, wakame—a form of seaweed—maintains a high iodine content while also providing the nutrients needed to improve cardiovascular health. It’s also high in vitamins C and B, which are good for the appearance of your skin.
Whether you’re looking to join us at our restaurant on 8th Avenue in NYC or want to take advantage of our online ordering options; you can skip the cooking time and experience true vegan excellence.