Pasta Puttanesca

This is a two-parter recipe. The first part is a general tomato sauce. It’ll keep in the fridge for a week, or you can freeze it if you make larger batches. The tomato sauce is used to make the puttanesca.

Generic tomato sauce makes about 2 1/2 C —

1/4 C olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 1/2 pounds of peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (or 2 cans)
12 basil leaves, chopped
2 T chopped fresh oregano
1/2 t fennel seed
1 t sugar (this helps with the acidity)

  1. If you’re using fresh tomatoes, cut out the cores. Heat a large pot of boiling water and cook the tomatoes 3-5 minutes, or until the skin loosens. Cool. Pull the skins off and remove the seeds. Chop the tomatoes.
  2. In a saucepan on medium heat, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent (about 10 minutes). Stir in the herbs, and cook another minute. Add the garlic, cook another minute. (Do not add the garlic first since it burns easily.)
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar, reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens (about 15 minutes)

Pasta Puttanesca — serves 4 to 6 —

1 T anchovy paste (or six anchovy fillets, pureed)
1/3 C olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced or sliced — it’s your choice!
1 t red pepper flakes
2 1/2 C tomato sauce (see above)
2 T capers, rinsed and chopped
12 basil leaves, cut into strips
1/2 C kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
1 lb spaghetti

  1. If you’re using anchovy fillets, puree them or mash them with a pestle.
  2. In a saute pan on low, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and anchovy. Cook about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes. Please adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your desired spiciness. This would be “two stars” on the Jim scale.
  4. Heat a large pot of salted water for the spaghetti. (More pasta tips) Cook the spaghetti until it’s al dente.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes
  6. Add the capers, basil and olives, simmer another 5 minutes
  7. Drain and rinse the pasta. Add sauce, serve right away.

1 thought on “Pasta Puttanesca”

  1. It’s 7am here and after read your recipe I’m hungry again! (I haven’t had sleep yet)

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