In an ideal world, every night we could go into our kitchens, open our pantries and refrigerators and magically make something delicious out of whatever is already in there. Unfortunately, this is not something I find myself able to do very often…okay, ever. I tend to feel the need to go to the store every time I’m inspired to make something, only to realize later on that I’ve forgotten a crucial ingredient right when I’ve got three burners going and the stove on. This usually results in me interrupting whatever my boyfriend is doing to send him on an emergency mission to Vons up the street.
I had never made Puttanesca sauce before, in fact, I don’t think I’d ever it eaten either. But one quiet Sunday evening, I was determined to make something with what I had in the house. While searching the internet for recipes involving what I had lying around; I found this recipe for Pasta Puttanesca from Gourmet June 2008. I served it with a chopped garden salad with feta (recipe to follow) which created a lovely and balanced Mediterranean-flavor inspired menu. This pasta is so delicious and flavorful and requires ingredients that you might have lying around!
- 1 pound dried spaghetti, spaghettini, or linguine fini
- 5 garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (preferably Italian)
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- Pinch of sugar (optional)
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped basil
Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 1/2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until barely al dente.
While pasta boils, cook garlic, anchovy paste, red-pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, purée tomatoes with juice in a food processor.
Add tomato purée to garlic oil along with olives and capers and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready. Stir in sugar if desired.
Drain pasta and add to sauce. Simmer, turning pasta with tongs, until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with basil.