Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pasta Puttanesca

No one exactly knows where this quick and tasty pasta sauce was born. But the name - which translates in English to "whore's pasta" - conjures images of a woman too tired at the end of the day to cook. She uses whatever ingredients she has on hand to make a quick marinara sauce. It comes together in about an hour. Works for me.


1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can of stewed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
1/2 cup kalamata olives
4 anchovy filets
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red or white wine (or to taste)
1 pound penne, spaghetti or other pasta of your choice
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


1. Saute' onion in oil until it begins to tan. Add garlic and saute' until very fragrant.

2. Add wine and cook briskly until nearly dry. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. (You can add more wine if you like. Be sure to let the alcohol cook out.)

3. Add 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt to a mortar. Smash anchovies and olives to a chunky consistency with pestle. Add to marinara sauce with the other seasonings. Simmer on low for 30 minutes or so while the pasta is cooking.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions. When al dente, drain and rinse. Add it to the marinara sauce and toss to coat the pasta. Slice the fresh basil into ribbons. Add basil and cheese to the pasta. Serve in pretty bowls with garlic bread and a glass of wine.

Makes 8 servings.

Chef's note: If you're eating in season, use fresh cherry tomatoes or roasted tomatoes instead of canned. As always, season to your taste. I'm heavy-handed with oregano and wine, light on the salt because of the olives and anchovies.

~Adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond

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