Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pasta Puttanesca

I cannot think of a pasta sauce more appetizing than Puttanesca. To me, it is the combination of many ingredients that would trigger my saliva glands into overdrive. I'm talking about capers, olives, anchovies - elements that would make you keep wanting for more - which was what happened to me! What was supposed to be a portion for 3 to 6 was finished by my husband and me in one serving. I love it!

The idea to make this dish came about because I had capers, olives, anchovies and chilli flakes lying around in my pantry one day. I remembered coming across this dish several times and wanted to try it, but somehow, I never had the chance to. Knowing that I had everything I needed in my kitchen to make it, I went online to scout for recipes. My search led me to The New York Times food section, a place where I'd visit every now and then to get inspiration for my food. I find it really reliable because I have not yet tried any of their dishes that turned out bad. Moreover, this recipe from them looked easy enough. So, I printed a copy out, tacked it to my refrigerator and cooked. Boy did it turn out way delicious!

Pasta Puttanesca (from The New York Times)
Yields 3 to 6 servings

Start the sauce while the pasta water is coming to a boil; finish it while the pasta is cooking. Add a salad and a loaf of bread and you're out the door to your evening's activity, whatever it might be.


Salt to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 or more cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
3 or more anchovy fillets
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup pitted black olives, preferably oil-cured
2 tablespoons capers
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1 pound linguine or other long pasta
Chopped fresh parsley, oregano, marjoram or basil leaves for garnish, optional

Bring pot of water to boil and salt it. Warm 2 tablespoons oil with garlic and anchovies in skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is lightly golden.

Drain tomatoes and crush with fork or hands. Add to skillet, with some salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and mixture becomes saucy, about 10 minutes. Stir in olives, capers and red pepper flakes, and continue to simmer.

Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until it is tender but not mushy. Drain quickly and toss with sauce and remaining tablespoon of oil. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary, garnish with herbs if you like, and serve.
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