Spicy and easy: Pasta Puttanesca
Is Pasta Puttanesca really named after the whores of Naples? Opinions remain divided, but without doubt this Southern Italian pasta dish is a spicy, easy and cheap one.
Tomatoes, olives, capers and garlic are the main ingredients, but feel free to experiment a bit, because no two cooks put the Puttanesca together in the same way. Here's our savory recipe:
Ingredients (serves 4)
- ½ lb uncooked spaghetti
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 1 ½ cups canned tomatoes
- ¾ cup pitted black olives (coarsely chopped)
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley (minced)
- 1 tbsp capers (drained)
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a large nonstick frypan over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the pan. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add anchovies and mash in pan to form a paste. Stir in tomatoes, olives, parsley, pepper and capers; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take a large casserole and bring about 6 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until al dente (see packaging instructions).
Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add pasta and reserved pasta water to tomato mixture; increase heat to medium. Cook another 2 minutes, tossing to combine.
Serve hot and sprinkle with cheese.
P.S. The best wine to match the strong and salty flavors of pasta puttanesca? Our preference would be a southern Italian red or a white Bordeaux. Salute!