Feeding a cold
First T. was sick. Then it was my turn. I was out of action for a solid week. Now T is sick again. We seem to be playing tag with the flu, and it is not fun.
This has led to a search for recipes that are big on taste (so that we could taste them despite stuffy noses), but require minimal preparation.
Spaghetti alla puttanesca is exactly that kind of recipe. It is packed with big flavours such as anchovies, olives and capers. Nothing understated here! They are added to a simple tomato sauce to really capitalize on taste. The dish is really an amalgamation of flavours and becomes slightly salty, thanks to the anchovies and olives and slightly spicy due to the chillies. All this combined with pungent garlic means I'm not sure it's a first date kind of dish but T. and I love it.
It's a perfect week night recipe and I'd actually be embarrassed to tell you how many times we've had it in the last 2 or 3 weeks, lest you think we only ever eat pasta!
I don't have an Italian bone in my body, so I couldn't tell you if the recipe is original or not. I will also refrain from speculation as to the less than savoury history of the name of the dish. I do know that it packs a punch, and is very quick and easy to make. So for the original recipe I will leave you in the very capable hands of Mark Bittman and the New York Times.
Recipe - Spaghetti alla puttanesca
Adapted from the New York Times
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
1 tsp or more anchovy paste
2 x 400g can whole (plum) tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives*
a pinch red pepper flakes
Cook the pasta according to package instructions. While it is cooking, make the sauce.
Warm 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and cook over medium-low heat until it is lightly golden. Drain the canned tomatoes and crush them with a fork. Add them to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Add the olives, capers, achovy pasta and red peppers flakes to the skillet. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for roughly 10 minutes.
Drain the pasta, toss it in the skillet with the sauce and serve.
Note. If using anchovy fillets the substitution is roughly 1 fillet per 1/2 tsp of paste. Add them with the garlic at the begining of the cooking.
*I detest olives so omit them entirely. I simply plop a few on T's plate as I'm serving.