This recipe for puttanesca is one of my favorites and it can easily be adjusted to fit your tastes. Add extra chili peppers to make it extra spicy or a few extra capers to give it a bit more of a tang. Puttanesca is a classic in Southern Italy and we consistently receive rave reviews for this dish at our restaurant. Buon Appetito!
Pasta alla Puttanesca
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 anchovy filets
1/2 c. Kalamata olives
3 Tbsp. capers
3/4 c. chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
3 c. penne rigate pasta
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
• Begin by boiling 4 quarts of water. Once the water reaches the boiling point, add 2 Tbsp. of kosher salt. (Tip: unsalted water boils more quickly than water salted before heating)
• Add the pasta to the boiling water and do not cover. Let the pasta cook until al dente, stirring occasionally.
• While pasta is cooking, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the chopped garlic, red pepper flakes and anchovy filets to the hot oil and sauté for about a minute, stirring so the garlic does not burn. If garlic begins to brown too quickly, add fresh, chopped tomatoes immediately to prevent the garlic from burning. Let the mixture absorb the liquid from the tomatoes and then add the Kalamata olives, capers and half of the parsley. Add the tomato sauce to the pan until just combined with the other ingredients.
• If the sauce is too thick, adjust with the pasta water to achieve desired consistency.
• At this point, the pasta should be nearly done. Drain the water from the pasta, saving a cup or so to adjust consistency of sauce if needed. Add the pasta to the sauté pan and toss to combine with the sauce.
Serve immediately in warm bowls. Garnish with parsley. Serves 2.
Engjell Vrapi is the chef at Sun Mountain Trattoria Bigfork.
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