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Instant Pot Red Pepper Chicken Puttanesca

Jun 7, 2019 | Chicken & Poultry, Food, Pasta & Grains

This easy Instant Pot puttanesca is bursting with flavor. Juicy chicken thighs are cooked in a robust red sauce made using red pepper harissa, garlic-stuffed green olives, herbs and your favorite jar of pasta sauce. An easy one-pot pasta dinner ready in under an hour.

Puttanesca is one of my favorite pasta sauces but it’s one that I seldom get to make. You see, I live in a divided household when it comes to olives. My husband hates them but I absolutely love them. Lucky for me, it’s one of the few foods my 18-month old eats without question so recently the scales have tipped slightly in my favor. Hallelujah!

Today I’m sharing a quick, Instant Pot version of this robust sauce paired with chicken and linguine pasta. This puttanesca sauce takes a little short cut with a little help from not only the Instant Pot but also the use of your favorite jarred pasta sauce. One of my go-to tricks for quick pasta dishes at home is adding lots of extra ingredients to a jarred red sauce. It’s a super easy way to jazz up a basic spaghetti dinner and turn it into something a little more flavorful.

One ingredient that really jazzes up this Puttanesca is the addition of harissa. Harissa is definitely not Italian, but I love its sharp red pepper flavor that pairs great with the olives and capers. This traditional North African sauce is made from roasted red peppers, spices and herbs such as garlic, coriander, or saffron and other regional chili peppers. Harissa can range from mild to spicy so choose one according to your taste preference. While I’m usually a spicy girl all the way, for this dish I chose mild harissa. Harissa use to be more difficult to find but now it’s can be found in the ethnic foods aisle in most grocery stores. 

How to Make Instant Pot Puttanesca

In this dish, you start by pan searing the chicken thighs in the Instant Pot. I’m using skin-on chicken thighs, but you can also use skinless thighs or chicken breasts too for a leaner option. Once the chicken is seared, remove and then prepare the sauce. I start by adding cherry tomatoes to the Instant Pot set to the “sauté” setting. Let the tomatoes cook until they begin to blister and char. Then add diced onions and garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrant. From there, simply add the jarred pasta sauce, harissa, olives, dried herbs, capers and anchovy paste. Stir to combine and then return the chicken the Instant Pot.

Now the Instant Pot does the rest of the work. Cover the Instant Pot with its lid and seal the pressure release valve. Using the “pressure cook” setting, set to high, cook the sauce and chicken for 35 minutes. Once the cooking time has elapsed, quick release the pressure by opening the lid’s pressure valve. Let the pressure release and once the lid unlocks, open the Instant Pot and remove the chicken onto a platter. Finally, add the lemon juice and chopped kale to the sauce and stir until the kale begins to wilt. Serve sauce over cooked linguine with the chicken thighs and garnish with parmesan cheese.

This dish is so delicious. You can serve it over linguine, as I did, or any pasta you like. I’ve also served it over gnocchi before as well which was super yummy as well. Beyond being quick and easy, this puttanesca pasta also offers lots of nutritional benefits as well.


Grown on trees, these tiny fruits are related to cherries, almonds, peaches and other stone fruits, also known as drupes. Olives are very high in vitamin E and other antioxidants that are good for your health. Additionally, they’re packed with oleic acid, a special type on monounsaturated fat that is shown to reduce inflammation. Studies have also linked it to reducing your risk for heart disease and help fight cancer.


This superfood is king of leafy green vegetables for a number of reasons. A member of the cabbage family, a single serving of this vegetable will deliver a healthy dose of vital minerals and vitamins. Loaded with vitamin A, K and C, kale also contains vitamin B6, manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium and an array of antioxidants making it one of the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. 


Known mostly for having a high concentration of the antioxidant, lycopene, which has been linked to reducing the risk for heart disease and cancer, tomatoes also are a good source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and vitamin K.

Do you have a favorite food that your spouse or significant other hates? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you try out this Instant Pot Red Pepper Chicken Puttanesca, please give the recipe a rating and tag me on social media. It’s @frydaeblog (#frydae) absolutely everywhere. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy. Happy Frydae!

Instant Pot Red Pepper Chicken Puttanesca

This easy Instant Pot dinner is bursting with flavor. Juicy chicken thighs are cooked in a robust red sauce made using harissa, garlic-stuffed green olives, herbs and your favorite jar of pasta sauce. An easy one-pot pasta dinner ready in under an hour.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Instant Pot, Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Pressure Release 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs (skin on)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes (whole)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup black olives (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup garlic-stuffed green olives (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 24 ounces favorite red pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup harissa
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups kale (chopped)
  • 1 pound linguine (cooked according to package)
  • parmesan cheese (for garnish)


  1. Turn on the Instant Pot and set to "saute" setting. While the Instant Pot preheats, season each chicken thigh with salt and pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

    Next, place chicken thighs skin side down in the Instant Pot and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the skin is golden and longer sticks to the pan. Turn chicken over and cook for 3 minutes. Remove chicken from Instant Pot and set aside.

    With the Instant Pot still on "saute", add cherry tomatoes and cook until the skins begin to blister and char—about 3 minutes. Add diced onion and garlic and continue to cook until onions soften and are translucent. 

    Now add sliced olives, capers, jarred pasta sauce, harissa, dried herbs and anchovy paste. Season with salt and pepper, stir and then return the seared chicken thighs to the Instant Pot. 

    Cover the Instant Pot with its lid and seal the pressure valve. Switch the machine to its "pressure cook" setting on "high" and then set the timer for 35 minutes. 

    Meanwhile, cook the linguine in a pot to al dente according to the package direction. Drain, drizzle with a little olive oil and set aside.

    When the cooking time has elapsed on the Instant Pot, quick release the pressure valve. Let the pressure release and remove the lid once the device unlocks. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and arrange on a platter.

    Next, add the lemon juice to the sauce along with the chopped kale. Stir until the kale begins to wilt and then add the cooked linguine. Toss to evenly coat the pasta in the sauce.

    To serve, place a generous portion of pasta on a plate and top with a chicken thigh. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread.


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