A great fall/winter weather meal is Pasta Puttanesca.
There are almost as many explanations for the origins of pasta puttanesca as there are ways to make it. “Puttanesca” literally translates to “in the style of prostitutes,” supposedly because the pungent aromas of garlic, anchovies, capers, and olives tossed with pasta were how Italian prostitutes in Naples would lead customers to their doors.
Puttanesca can be made completely with ingredients found in most pantries; in fact, it can be made entirely without ingredients that require refrigeration. (although some fresh herbs at the end is good). The basis is a garlicky tomato sauce; which can be made with canned tomatoes. This is brought to a high level of flavor by the addition of anchovies, capers and olives. Red pepper flakes give a little kick. The whole cooking process is very easy. (Hence – Cooking Secrets for Men!)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 6 anchovy fillets
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- One 35-oz can whole peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices, crushed by hand
- Pinch of sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoons capers, drained
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil.
- Add the garlic, anchovies and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the canned tomatoes with their juices.
- Stir in the sugar, olives and capers.
- Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes.
- Season again with salt and pepper and garnish with basil if desired.