Pasta Puttanesca (Whore Pasta)
According to Nigella Lawson, Pasta Puttanesca translates to “whore pasta” or “whore’s pasta” (something to that effect). The story goes that the sauce is made with canned ingredients as opposed to fresh. Therefore, “promiscuous” women would make this sauce because they didn’t go to the market everyday. I guess the theory is that they’d just “skank” it up with their canned stuff in the pantry. Interesting. If using canned ingredients is an indication of promiscuous behavior, then I guess that would qualify me as a nun. I don’t find myself using canned ingredients often. If I can help it I’ll always use fresh (with the exception of beans & tomatoes of course).
My Pasta Puttanesca story all started with a trip to Tj Maxx. All good stories begin with a trip to Tj Maxx by the way. In the clearance section I found a bag of giant square shaped semolina penne pasta. I’m sure there is a more technical term for this particular pasta shape but I don’t know what it is. The pasta was on sale for $2.50. I also had a jar of Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara Sauce (only $2.29!). A pasta dish was on the horizon.
When I got home, I searched through my fridge to see what I could spruce up my sauce with. Things weren’t looking very good. I was pretty sparse on the fresh produce. I did however happen to have a jar of kalamata olives, anchovy filets (Caesar dressing ingredient) & capers; all the “canned” staples of a classic Puttanesca. On a side note, anchovies are chock full of heart healthy fats, vitamin D & vitamin E. I’ve never made Puttanesca sauce before, but it seemed pretty straightforward. I just dumped my jarred ingredients into my pasta sauce & let it simmer away. I felt pretty dirty doing it.
Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I sprinkled the top with feta cheese (parmesan shavings are pictured because we ran out), it was the perfect accomplice to the briny ingredients. This was amazing paired with a bubbly presecco (& a brand new episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills).
Say what you will about promiscuous women…but they sure know how to eat.
WARNING: Due to the heavy use of jarred ingredients, go easy on the salt. It’s pretty salty as is.
- Dried Pasta, any kind
- 1 jar of Canned Tomato Sauce
- 1/2 Onion, chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
- 1 Jalapeno, seeds removed & chopped
- Olive Oil
- 6 Anchovy Filets
- 2 Tablespoons Capers
- Small Handful of Kalmata Olives, chopped (I used about 10 olives)
- A Few Strips of Jarred Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
- Feta Cheese, Parsley & Red Pepper Flakes for Garnish
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Begin by boiling water for your pasta.
- In a nonstick skillet, saute onion in olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes & add garlic cloves & jalapenos. Cook until fragrant.
- Add anchovy fillets & sort of mash up with the back of a spatula as it cooks & mixes with the onion mixture.
- Once the filets are smashed up, add the jarred pasta sauce. Bring it to a simmer.
- Add the olives, capers, & red pepper strips.
- Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes.
- By time the pasta is done cooking, the sauce should be ready. If the sauce is too thick & chunky add a ladle full of pasta water to the sauce & stir up.
- Top pasta with sauce & garnish with feta cheese crumbles, parsley, & red pepper flakes.