Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pasta Puttanesca

Puttanesca is an Italian term for whore. I don't know why such a delicious pasta dish was named after a disreputable occupation, but some say it is because the ingredients are easily stored on a shelf and perfect for making a little post-business pick-me-up. This cannot be confirmed, but I can tell you that it is so good you might be surprised what people will do for you to get it. I jest, but only a little. I made this recipe based on this recipe in Bon Appétit magazine January 2008. My variations are not many, but the recipe is so good, it's worth posting here.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped, or even better 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 28.2-ounce can peeled tomatoes in puree with basil
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved, pitted
  • 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 pound Penne or Linguine pasta
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano is nice too)

What to do:

Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When the water is about to boil, heat the oil in a separate large pan and then add the garlic and onion or shallots. Cook for about a minute, or longer if you like your onions softer. Add your pasta to the boiling water. Then, add the tomatoes, olives, anchovies (they are really good! Be brave!), capers, oregano and red pepper to the garlic mixture. Stir together and cook for about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Stir it up. If you happen to have Italian parsley or any other kind of herb like fresh basil around, throw it on top. Let people serve themselves and top with grated cheese! Enjoy!

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