Saturday, November 10, 2018

Pasta Puttanesca -- A classic, rustic sauce easy to make at home

Over the years, one thing I have found is that many people think that making a pasta sauce at home is a drawn out or difficult process. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many sauces can be made both fresh and very quickly and will taste far better than the vast bulk of canned or jarred sauces that are found on grocery store shelves.

There are any number of different recipes I could share (and maybe I will post a few more down the line) but the one that I am posting today is a really good way to get started for even the most nervous home cook. It is easy and yet very impressive.

This is my version of a classic Italian tangy, salty and spicy spaghetti dish known by a few names and with a few variations, but that is most commonly called Pasta Puttanesca. It is a rustic pasta sauce gem.

These ingredients are for about 500 grams of pasta. Spaghetti is most often used though linguine, fettuccine, etc., work well also. 


4 - 5 cloves of garlic coarsely sliced or minced
5-6 filets of anchovies (or 1 small can)
1 small to medium jar of capers
Approximately 15 each of green & black olives pits in. (Use whatever variety you like, though for the black olives I prefer Kalmata olives. Fresh as always is best, but jarred olives are fine. I find that canned olives are basically inedible, however).
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1-2 tablespoons red hot chili flakes (depending if you like hot or HOT!)
sea salt and pepper to tatse
1 large can diced tomatoes with liquid (if you can get herbed and spiced or San Marzano style that works best)

First prepare the spaghetti to al dente.

While doing that, heat some olive oil in a large saucepan to medium heat. Add the garlic as the oil just starts to get gets hot. Add the anchovies.  Stir in the oil blending together for 3-4 minutes or so, crushing the anchovies as you go and until the garlic is beginning to get sauteed.

Add the capers. Stir and saute another 1-2 minutes.

Add the green and black olives, Italian seasoning, oregano, red chili flakes and sea salt and pepper to taste (remember anchovies are already salty).

Stir and saute another 1-2 minutes.

Add the can of diced tomatoes. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for around 15 minutes to thicken and blend flavours.

Add your pasta to the sauce and toss it all together evenly.

Have with crusty bread and, of course, a hearty Italian red wine.


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