Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pasta alla Puttanesca

So I suppose I should start by telling you what the name of this sauce translates into - pasta with harlot's sauce. You know anything with a name like that just has to be good ;)
I actually tried this for the first time at a church leadership camp a couple years ago... why my church considers me fit for church leadership is a whole other issue! ;) We go up to this great little mountain town where there is a camp that is pretty much self-sustaining. It's really a wonderful place (sadly, this camp was very badly damaged during a wild fire in late September). Anyway, the food there is just amazing - they grow all their own vegetables and it's all organic/fertilized with compost the staff makes. Anyway, I thought it was so funny when they told us what the name of this sauce meant. I remembered the translation but knew I'd never find "Harlot's Sauce" in a recipe book! lol Finally found this in one of my books and had to make it. So tasty!

The original recipe called for anchovies but I left those out since I wanted this to be vegetarian. I also halved the amount of red pepper flakes that I used since the original recipe's 1/2 tsp. made this a bit too much on the hot side!
This probably should be served with spaghetti but I didn't have any (have to break out the pasta makers!) so I just used whole wheat fussili instead.

This is a really fast dinner - perfect for week nights. It took me less than 45 minutes start to finish.

Serves 4

2 1/2 cups canned tomatoes with juice
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
4 tbsp. black olives, pitted and sliced
4 tbsp. green olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 tbsp. small capers, drained
salt to taste if needed
spaghetti or other pasta

1. Combine the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Place over medium-low heat and saute gently until garlic softens - about 3 minutes.

2. Add the parsley and marjoram and saute gently, just until the herbs release their aroma, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the tomatoes (with the juice), olives, red pepper flakes, and capers. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Check for salt and add if needed.
Cook pasta according to package directions during this step.

I topped mine with a little grated Parmesan just to mellow out the red pepper flakes! It's vegan and dairy-free if you leave off the cheese (obviously!)

I found the original recipe in a Pasta Recipes and Techniques book I got from the Cooking Club of America (of which I am a member).

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