"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Recipes: Spaghetti a la Puttanesca

Occasionally I like a red sauce for pasta that is a little salty and tangy as a change from traditional meat and fish dishes.  Spaghetti a la Puttanesca is exactly that dish!  It is incredibly easy to make and has just a few key ingredients – anchovies and capers.  The anchovies blend very well into the tomato sauce, and very few diners will recognize them. Italians use anchovies a lot in cooking, and never overpower but give character and enhance flavor.   The capers balance the anchovies perfectly and are recognizable with their pungent, almost spicy taste.

Spaghetti a la Puttanesca

* 1 can Marzano whole tomatoes

* 1/2 can low-salt tomato paste

* 1 can flat anchovies

* 20 capers (approx.)

* 10 small black uncured olives (optional)

* 1 cup red wine

* 5 lg. cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

* 1 lg. bunch parsley, coarsely chopped

* 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

* 3-4 shakes dried hot pepper flakes (add more if you like it hot)

* 1/4 cup olive oil (approx.) or enough to cover the bottom of the pan

* 1 tbsp. sugar

* 5-10 grindings black pepper

* 1/2 lb. spaghetti

- Sauté the garlic and hot pepper flakes in olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat, careful not to brown or burn it

- Add the anchovies (drained), break them up, and stir for no more than 2 minutes

- Add the parsley and onions and sauté for an additional 10 minutes or until the onions begin to get soft

- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, capers, wine, ground black pepper, and sugar, and stir well

- Simmer over medium-low heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally

- Uncover slightly (enough to let the steam out) and cook for an additional hour or until the sauce gets thick

- Taste (sugar is the only ingredient you can add at this point if necessary)

- Boil pasta, plate, cover with tomato sauce, garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley and ground pepper, and serve



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