Sunday, October 23, 2011
Pasta puttanesca recipe
This delectable Italian pasta dish is so easy to make yet it is bursting with flavours from anchovies, tomatoes, capers, olives, herbs combined with the sweetness of onions and a bit of heat from some chilli peppers. It can be done within less than 30 minutes which is perfect if you need to whip up something substantial for dinner. It's comfort food in my opinion, the kind where you want to sneak away in a corner and devour the entire bowl of pasta by yourself cozing up to a good novel. I'll definitely be making this again as either a main meal or a side dish and I think it should complement a roast perfectly.
1lb pasta, cooked to al dente (with a bite) ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus 1tbsp butter, optional) 1 medium onion (~ ¾ cup), peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, crushed/diced
1 28-ounce/800g can diced (or crushed) tomatoes or 2 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes
½-1 cup parsley, chopped, plus ½ cup extra for garnishing
20 olives/¾ - 1 cup roughly chopped olives, sliced or roughly chopped
1 2-ounce can anchovies,drained and chopped
100g baby capers/1 3- to 4-ounce jar capers /, washed and dried
2 tablespoon basil, chopped (optional)
½-1 tsp red pepper flakes/chilli powder freshly ground black pepper to taste salt (optional) to taste- I added about 3/4 tsp, didn't need much seasoning as the rest of the ingredients were already salty
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional) reserve about 3 tablespoons for pasta water
Put 3 – 4 quart wide-bottom saucepan or Dutch oven on stove top, turn heat to medium. When pan is hot, add oil and butter, then add onion and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium low and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft (6 – 8 minutes).
When onion is soft, add anchovies to onion mixture. Sauté for 30 seconds or so; the anchovies will begin to dissolve.
Add red pepper, olives, ?basil, parsley, capers, oregano, and tomato. (I usually add about ¼ - ½ can of water to make the sauce a bit more liquid, but you can skip this and add pasta water at the end). Bring sauce to boil, then turn down to a simmer for 8-10 mins.
When you judge that the pasta is within a minute of being done (for me this is usually at the 8-minute mark), drain pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water. Return pasta to pot and place over low heat.
Taste sauce for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Add sauce to pasta and stir to combine or transfer into the pan with the puttanesca sauce for a minute or two, stirring so it absorbs some of the liquid in the pan. If sauce is too thick, dilute with some of the pasta cooking water. Toss with the chopped basil.
Serve pasta. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese if you wish and chopped parsley leaves.
Note: You can make the sauce before the pasta finishes cooking.