Posts Tagged ‘Pasta Puttanesca’

Ladies of the Evening

Friday, April 28th, 2017

This week I returned to Mass Appeal and had a lot of fun. I am a huge ham—so performing (and let’s face it, the cooking I do there IS a form of performance) on television pickles me Tink. And of course I was happy to see my dear friend Seth, who was hosting the show alone that day.

The first dish I made was a pasta concoction I have always enjoyed. With its anchovies, capers, red peppers, and olives, Puttanesca sauce is simultaneously tangy and light, perhaps like the ladies of the evening from whom it derives its name. (Yes, “puttanesca” means of or pertaining to prostitutes.)

It takes very little time to make. And at this time of year as we chomp at the bit to eat local produce, it tastes remarkably fresh for something that comes mostly out of jars and cans.

As I explain in the video below, I gather that there are a variety of possible explanations for naming a pasta sauce after prostitutes. 

1. It was something the girls could whip up quickly between clients.

2. The aroma of the sauce was good for business, luring in prospective clients.

3. Like some ladies of the evening, the sauce is easy and cheap.

Just about all of the proportions below are subject to change according to your preference. Think of the recipe (as you should think of just about any recipe) as a general guideline.

And don’t forget to watch the video and admire my lovely new hat, a gift from my family. It was made by a small Vermont company known as Swan and Stone, after the last names of the owners.

Pasta Puttanesca

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (you may use less, but the oil really does enhance the flavor of the dish)
4 cloves garlic, slivered
4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
1 generous pinch red-pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste (go light on the salt!)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
12 ounces dried linguine
1/2 cup (or more) chopped Greek olives
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon lemon zest
roughly torn fresh parsley and (if you can find it) fresh basil

Instructions:

Boil a large pot of water for the pasta.

In a wide pot over medium heat warm the oil. Add the garlic, anchovies, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, just until the garlic starts to turn golden brown.

While those ingredients are cooking, drain the tomatoes (they don’t have to be COMPLETELY drained) and squeeze them with your hands to break them into smaller pieces.

Add the tomato pieces to the garlic mixture, along with the salt, pepper, and dried oregano.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture begins to look like a sauce.

While the tomato sauce is cooking, salt the pasta water and cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Just before the pasta is done, stir the olives and capers into the tomato sauce.

Drain the pasta, and add it to the sauce along with the lemon zest. Garnish the dish with the fresh herbs. Serve with grated cheese.

This dish serves 3 as a main dish (it may be doubled) or 6 as a side dish.

And now the video: