Grilled Chicken with Puttanesca Sauce

Published January 19, 2017
Prep Time: 0:10 Cook Time: 0:18 Serves: 4

This sauce has great flavour that straddles the seasons. The freshness of tomatoes and basil evoke spring and summer, while the brine and age of olives and capers conjure thoughts of fall and winter. Puttanesca sauce is a traditional Italian sauce typically served over spaghetti or other long noodles and is well known for its salty and fresh flavour profile. A word of encouragement: don’t skip the anchovy paste. Although it is an optional ingredient, anchovies can give an extra boost of flavour, without imparting an overly-fishy taste, think of the intensity of flavour in a Caesar salad dressing, that’s from anchovies!

Pro tip: Experiment with olives! Although puttanesca typically employs black olives, feel free to grab a mix from an olive bar and add a bit of personality. Try garlic stuffed, sundried, or spicy for a flavour variety.


  • 1 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s) (450 g), cutlets
  • 2 spray(s) cooking spray
  • 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt (2 ml)
  • 1⁄4 tsp black pepper (1 ml)
  • 1 1⁄2 cup(s) grape tomatoes (375 ml), quartered
  • 8 medium olive(s), pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1Tbsp capers (15 ml), drained
  • 1Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (15 ml)
  • 2 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced
  • 1⁄8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (0.5 ml) (1 pinch)
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (5 ml, optional)
  • 2 Tbsp basil (30 ml), fresh, slivered


  1. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray; set pan over mediumhigh heat. (Alternately, coat an outdoor grill with cooking spray; heat to medium-high).
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; grill 8 minutes. Flip chicken; grill until just cooked through, 7 minutes more. Transfer to a platter; let rest 5 minutes.
  3. While chicken rests, in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olives and capers; set aside.
  4. Warm oil in a small skillet over medium heat; add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté until just fragrant, about 30 seconds; stir in anchovy paste if using.
  5. Add anchovy mixture to tomato mixture; stir gently. Sprinkle with basil; stir gently. Serve chicken with sauce spooned over top.

It’s best to use chicken breasts that are the same thickness so they cook at the same rate. If necessary, lightly pound chicken to an even thickness. Serving size: 3 oz chicken and ½ c sauce.