Sunday, January 9, 2011
Posted by: Maggie
Did you know that pasta puttanesca is also known as "whore's spaghetti"? Legend has it that Italian prostitutes would cook this dish to lure in potential customers. I can see why that worked, since I left my apartment shortly after cooking this for Sunday lunch, and could smell the garlic 15 feet down the hall when I returned. Let's just hope that those hookers were packing breathmints, because this is one stinky, but delicious meal.
(Sidenote: I'm really curious to see what kind of google hits I get thanks to the preceeding paragraph containing certain words atypical to a cooking blog. Perhaps hits from brothel patrons searching for "what to feed a hooker." FEED THEM THIS! It's tasty, and historical!)
Here is what you will need...I omitted the anchovy paste, not because I hate anchovies (I happen to love them), but because Whole Foods sucks and sold me a tube of anchovy paste that had burst open on the end. I didn't see it when I bought it since the tube was in a cardboard box. Oh well...include it if you can - it will only make an already amazing dish more delicious.
12 ounces dried spaghetti
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 5-6 cloves)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1/2 - 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (depending on your spice tolerance)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice, pureed in blender
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
Pinch of sugar
Shredded parmesan cheese
Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
While spaghetti is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add in garlic, anchovy paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then dump in pureed tomatoes, olives, and capers.
Let simmer, stirring occasionally while pasta is cooking. Add sugar to taste, to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Add in salt and pepper if desired. (I felt like the sauce was salty enough from the capers and olives, and did not add any extra seasoning.)
Drain the pasta, and combine with the sauce. Sprinkle with basil and Parmesan just before serving.
P.S. Vegetarian readers - please don't be mad that I categorized this as vegetarian. I was a vegetarian for many, many years, and would have taken major exception to the fact that a recipe containing anchovy paste was classified this way. Since I left the anchovy paste out, and since it tastes so awesome without using it I decided to stick the label on there for organizational purposes.
Adapted from: The Curvy Carrot