Friday, May 16, 2014

Pasta Puttanesca- It's Quick and it's Fabulous!

Need to entertain in a hurry?  Pasta puttanesca is my "go to" for a healthy, quick and easy dish that will truly impress your guests.  When I think puttanesca, I can taste the brininess of the Kalamata olives, the saltiness of the capers, the background heat from the red pepper flakes- it's a great dish.

If you want to keep it strictly vegetarian, just omit the anchovies.  The sauce also freezes well so portion pack and you'll always be ready to go...

Makes enough sauce to serve eight. 

    1 pound     dried penne or rigatoni (or spaghetti)
    5 cloves     garlic, finely minced
    1 med.       onion, finely chopped
    3 tsp          anchovies, finely minced (or use anchovy paste), optional
    1/2 tsp       red-pepper flakes
    1/3 cup      olive oil
    4 cups       passata (Italian crushed tomatoes or 2-28-ounce cans whole tomatoes)
    1/2 cup     Kalamata olives, pitted (preferably from the deli counter, not canned)
    2 tbsp       capers, drained, rinsed and coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup     fresh basil, coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup     fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

    Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water (2 1/2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until barely al dente.
    While pasta boils, cook garlic, onions, 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, about two minutes.

    Meanwhile, if using canned whole tomatoes, purée them with juice in a blender.  Add tomato purée to garlic oil along with the olives and capers and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready.

    Drain pasta, reserving about one cup of the pasta water. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the pasta water and simmer it down briefly.  Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan. Simmer, turning the pasta until it is al dente, about two minutes. Sprinkle with basil and parsley.  Enjoy!

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