Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

June 23, 2011 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

There’s a very mysterious law of nature that says when I’m hot, my husband will be cold; and when I’m cold, my husband will be hot. The only time this doesn’t apply is when it’s either extremely cold or extremely hot, in which case we’re both cold/hot respectively.

This is especially true at night.

Two nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling really hot. We had our windows open and the air conditioner turned off, so I got up and closed the windows and turned the air conditioner on. It then got cool, I became comfortable, and I fell back asleep and remained asleep the rest of the night. The next morning, my husband informed me he’d gotten cold during the night.

Last night, we had the air conditioner on from when we went to bed, but I set it at a higher temperature so Hisa wouldn’t get cold. I slept fine, but the next morning, Hisa told me he’d gotten hot.

This is what it’s like. Always. He’s hot, I’m cold. I’m hot, he’s cold. I think we just have very different internal thermostats. Fortunately, while he’s away at work, I’m in charge of climate control at home. Bwahaha! Not that I’m a control freak or anything! Me? Noooo! Never!

*        *        *

One pasta dish that’s become my favorite in the past six months or so is spaghetti alla puttanesca.

If you’ve never had it, it’s spaghetti in a tomato sauce with olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, red chili, and olive oil. In my opinion, any pasta sauce with capers or olives in it is lovely, so having both in one pasta sauce is a definite winner in my books.

I know some people are turned off by the idea of anchovies, but it doesn’t taste like anchovies. You dissolve them in the olive oil in the beginning, and it adds a wonderful depth and richness to the flavor. It’s just not the same without the anchovies, so trust me and don’t leave them out!

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy and quick. As long as you have anchovies, black olives, capers, and garlic (something every kitchen should have a ready supply of in my opinion), you can whip this up for a fast and delicious dinner.

Although this dish is traditionally made with spaghetti, you can use whatever pasta you have on hand. Go on. Break the rules! Be a rebel!

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (serves two)

  • dried spaghetti for two people (use your own judgment. you know how much spaghetti you want to eat more than I do)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 – 5 anchovy fillets
  • 2- 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red chili, diced (or 1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp capers, chopped
  • 3/4 – 1 c. pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed (or chopped) tomatoes
  • salt
  1. Cook pasta in pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the anchovies and cook until they dissolve into the oil.
  3. Add garlic and chili and cook for about a minute. Add the capers, olives, and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  4. When pasta is done, drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Add the pasta and a little pasta water to the skillet with the sauce. Mix until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Divide between two plates and serve immediately.

For a quick broccoli dish to go with this. Steam broccoli florets until not quite al dente. Mix broccoli, a little olive, a pinch of sea salt, and one clove finely minced garlic until broccoli is well coated, then add to a toaster pan. Cook in a toaster oven until the broccoli has slightly browned around the edges. Remove from toaster, add a splash of lemon juice and some diced ham (optional), mix well, and serve.


Entry filed under: Italian food, Pasta, Recipes, Seafood. Tags: , , , , , .

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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June 2011
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