Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pasta alla Puttanesca

The word about puttanesca sauce (in case you haven't already heard) is that Italian prostitutes originated it in the 1800's (puttanesca literally means "whore's sauce" in Italian). Some say they made it so the wonderful smell would attract customers. Others say it was to feed their gentlemen caller's hunger after exerting all that energy. And still others say it was to feed themselves in between clients, since it's so quick and easy to throw together (so they could get back to work).

I'm not sure if any of that is true, but it makes a good story (and a delicious dinner)! 
Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, pressed or very finely chopped
1 (28 oz.) can peeled tomatoes in puree with basil
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 teaspoons anchovy paste (or 3 anchovy fillets, chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 lb. spaghetti or other pasta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
grated parmesan cheese

1.      Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with puree, olives, anchovy paste, capers, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Simmer sauce over medium-low heat until thickened, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (caution, it might not need any salt, the olives, anchovy paste and capers are already salty).
2.      Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta; return to pot. Add sauce and parsley. Toss over low heat until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes.
3.      Serve with parmesan cheese.

adapted from Martha & Max Holmes
all sauce ingredients added
sauce done
We found a pasta we'd never used before called rombi
that looks like mini ruffled lasagna noodles.
rombi draining
rombi alla puttanesca

Pasta alla Puttanesca is traditionally made with spaghetti, but of course you can use any pasta you like.

Spaghetti alla puttanesca


Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

Gotta love anything that 19th century Italian whores came up with! Actually, I've never liked olives and so I never ate this. Within the past two years I've been making a concerted effort to cultivate a taste for them. I'm doing well with my project and have fallen in love with an olive and feta pasta I make and my olive and spinach sandwiches. I think it's time I graduate to the whore's pasta. Adam would love it!

Randi said...

That pasta shape is so pretty. I am a little "ew" about the anchovies, but I can skip it. I'm sure they melt into the sauce and are subtle, but "ew". Maybe I can add a dash of Thai fish sauce? Less fish handling and fish odor.

Susan said...

I'm also squeamish about anchovies, that's why I used the paste instead of whole ones. I didn't have to touch it, just squeeze some out of the tube and it does melt into the sauce.

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