Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Spaghetti puttanesca

I made spaghetti puttanesca for the residents at work for lunch today. Out of respect for the women, I called it "spaghetti with a lot of stuff in it!"

The residents enjoyed garlic, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, pepperoncinis, olives and olive oil tossed in with spaghetti. The sharp bite, which is characteristic of the dish, made it a hit.

I enjoy cooking the dish because it's easily modified to accommodate ingredients in stock. Since I don't stock anchovies or capers, I left them out. Two ingredients that I stock in the pantry -- roasted red peppers and sliced pepperoncini peppers -- enhanced the pasta dish.

Spaghetti puttanesca is a good fall-winter dish for the menu when imported produce is expensive and California-grown produce is non-existent.


This recipe re-printed from Professional Cooking, 4th edition. My version eliminated the anchovies and added 1/2 (28-ounce) roasted red peppers (chopped) and 1 cup sliced pepperoncini peppers to the recipe.

3-1/2 pounds tomatoes
2 ounces olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
15 anchovy fillets, chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
5 ounces black olives
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 ounce olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 pounds spaghetti

Peel, seed and dice tomatoes. Let them stand in a colander to drain moisture. If using canned tomatoes, drain and chop coarsely.

Heat olive oil in a saute over moderate heat. Add garlic and saute for a minute. Add anchovy fillets and saute for a few seconds.

Add tomatoes, capers and olives. Bring to a boil and cook 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add oregano, parsley and second quantity of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Boil spaghetti, drain, toss with the sauce and serve immediately. Grated cheese is usually not served with this dish. Portion 12-ounce servings.

NOTE: "Spaghetti a la puttanesca (whore's spaghetti) is a spicy, tangy and somewhat salty Italian pasta dish that culinary experts regard as modern and reflects the bounty of the market rather than the garden. The ingredients are inexpensive, easy to find and typically Mediterranean. Italians refer to the sauce as sugo alla puttanesca" (Wikipedea, January 23, 2010).

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