Puttanesca, the ultimate, big-personality punchy pasta sauce. Named for prostitutes, what’s not to love?
According to Wikipedia, it is a typical southern Italian dish, invented sometime in the mid 20th century, probably in the Bay of Naples region. I think that the reason why it is so, pardon the pun, saucy, is that the dish is made of store-cupboard ingredients, and extremely quick to assemble, and so very convenient for a lady of the night, or perhaps anyone who is too busy having a good time to go to Sainsburys. I am not convinced that said ladies actually ate this. While pasta is a slow releasing carbohydrate and great for stamina, the strong and garlicky sauce probably doesn’t leave your breath that sexy…but maybe some people are in to that, who am I to judge?? And it probably did protect them from horny Italian vampires. Yeah I really did just say that, clearly I have been watching far too much True Blood.
Difficulty 2/5 time 15-25 mins taste 4/5 serves 2
1 can chopped tomatoes
4-5 anchovy fillets
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 dried, crumbled Birdseye chilli or a pinch of dried chilli flakes (you can shake some of the seeds or of the chilli)
big handful black olives, chopped a bit
in a large frying pan with a lid, fry the garlic in olive oil. When starting to colour, add the anchovies and chilli. When the anchovies start to disintegrate, add the chopped tomatoes, olives, capers and parsley. Simmer for at least 10 mins, the sauce will get richer the longer you give it. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water (as salty as the Mediterranean) until al-dente. A good trick for getting the perfect pasta is to cook it for 1 minute less than it says on the packet, and then add it to the hot sauce for the remaining minute, with a spoonful of the cooking water.
Etiquette dictates that if onions are added to the sauce it is American, and it should not served with cheese. If you want a cheesey element, try serving this as I did, with a salad of fresh spinach, oranges, pumpkin seeds and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
|La Dame aux Camelias 1896 - Alphonse Mucha|