Saturday, May 21, 2016

SPAGHETTI ALLA PUTTANESCA

In the Italian language, a puttana is a "lady of the night." This pasta dish is quick and easy to make. Perhaps that's how it got its name...because the ladies of the night could make this quickly between customers. I smash up the anchovies along with a clove of garlic in a mortar and pestle, and it gives that wonderful flavor without being overpowering. If you want more anchovy flavor, use one or two more. You can find the Italian olives in most supermarkets and of course in any Italian market.  



¼ cup extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 ½ cups pitted and chopped Italian green olives, preferably Cerignola or Castelvetrano
1 cup pitted and chopped Italian black olives, preferably Gaeta or Lugano
¼ cup capers, drained
3 to 4 anchovies, mashed in a mortar and pestle or use about 1 T anchovy paste
4 cloves garlic, mashed in a mortar and pestle or minced
½ cup Italian white wine (Frascati, Orvieto, or Pinot Grigio)
2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes
1 ½  lbs spaghetti
½ t red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T chopped fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling 
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large pot, sauté the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until translucent.
Add the olives, capers, mashed anchovies, and garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the wine and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and hand-crush them, removing the hard center cores.
Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.

Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain the spaghetti, but save ½ cup of the pasta water.

Add some of the reserved pasta water to slightly thin the sauce, if needed.

Season to taste with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
Add the chopped parsley, basil, and drained pasta; toss to coat.

Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil, garnish with basil, and serve with grated Parmigiano cheese.

Serves 6


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