Weeknight Pasta Puttanesca
It isn’t as though you couldn’t tell by the kinds of recipes I post here. They are a direct reflection of what is on my table every day. Hence, the evidence is in the Zesty Bolognese, the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Panzanella, and the Sweet Potato Salad W/Vinaigrette. We love the brine and sourness of pickles, lemon, vinegar sauces, and olives. Our family recently discovered Zoes Kitchen, a restaurant chain here in the south that I had never heard of or been to, but am now obsessed with. Why did no one tell me about this place?! If you follow BP in Instagram you saw our excitement over our first meal! They serve greek and mediterranean type food, sandwiches and salads and fresh ingredients with a famous chocolate sheet cake they sell for dessert, and it hits all our good food buttons. Outrageously scrumptious.
Italian food is part of that whole category of great, regional food that uses an delightful excess of vinegar, feta, olive, and oils and…*drool* I’m making myself hungry. Luckily, I have this pasta to keep me happy! Isn’t it fun to say? Pa-stah Poot-a-nesk-ah! Mmm. Also, if you and/or your kids have ever read Lemony Snickets: A Series Of Unfortunate Events, they will know exactly what pasta puttanesca is. Score! Its a famous dish!
It also happens to be quick, easy, and (my favorite part) is made with pantry ingredients. That is always nice when you are in a hurry or trying to stretch what you have in your cupboards between grocery trips. You literally dump all the sauce ingredients together and heat. Did you catch that? Dump and heat. Could this recipe BE any easier? Add the freshness of a vegetable on the side and you have dinner! In this case, you also have garlic toast with it, but that is for a future post! But trust me, you will want to come back. Come baaaaack for garlic toooooaaaast…
Weeknight Pasta Puttanesca
This is my version. While it may not be perfectly authentic, it hits all the major puttanesca flavors. This will feed four people with a serving leftover for lunch the next day!
3/4 lb of thin spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T extra virgin olive oil
large pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tsp anchovy paste, optional
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 c roughly chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 heaping T capers, drained
1 tsp dried oregano
1 T dried parsley
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese for serving
While the pasta cooks, heat the oil and garlic in a large sauté pan over medium heat until just starting to sizzle. DO NOT LET IT BROWN AND BURN! As soon as it is fragrant, add the anchovy paste, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Cook for about 15 seconds stirring well to dissolve the anchovies and dump in the crushed tomatoes. Add the olives, capers, dried parsley and sugar. Give it a few cranks of black pepper and let it come up to a slow bubble. Taste it for salt and pepper seasoning, and let the whole thing bubble gently until the pasta is done. Dump all the pasta into the sauce and toss gently with a tongs until combined well. Serve with plenty of parmesan cheese.