A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca is one of those dishes with a lot of stories about its humble beginnings. My favorite is that the dish originated in Naples, Italy and was named after the local “ladies of the evening” who would make it. Did they make it as a way to entice in more male “clientele” to their brothel? Did they make it for themselves as a quick meal? It doesn’t matter. It is fast and inexpensive, and if you do a lot of Italian cooking chances are good that most of the ingredients are already in your pantry or garden.

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 anchovy fillets
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, drained of most liquid and crushed gently with your hands
½ cup black olives, pitted- I am certain that they would have originally served the dish with the pits, but it is easier eating the dish with the pits removed
3 tablespoons drained capers
Handful of torn fresh basil to garnish
Extra virgin olive oil to finish (I toss in almost ¼ cup)

This Puttanesca sauce is served tossed with 1 pound of cooked pasta. I am using cooked and drained Bucatini as that is what I have in my pantry; the long “spaghetti” shaped pastas seem to work well. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box then drain it before tossing it in the sauce.

So for the sauce place a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add in the olive oil, garlic, anchovy fillets, and red pepper flakes. Cook stirring often, for about 3-4 minutes, careful not to burn the garlic.

Add in the tomatoes, turn heat to high, then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the olives, capers and torn fresh basil then toss with the pasta. I like to also add in the extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat the pasta. I serve this with a bit of Parmesan cheese.

* Feel free to adjust the amounts of the ingredients to your taste, if you like it spicy add more red pepper flakes etc.

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