Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spaghetti a la Putanesca

Alistar Little recommended in one of his early books that you should always have the ingredients ready for this dish in you larder.
There are as my good friend Umberto once said as many recipes for this dish as puttanas in a certain streel in Naples !
Also there are several theories about the origins of the Putanesca sauce some involving the oldest profession and others not . Wikipedia covers most
Any way here is the one I follow and adore !

Serves 4

1/3 cup olive oil
10 anchovies -
8 whole garlic cloves
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 medium San Marzano tomatoes, chopped & seeded with juice, or one can San Marzano tomatoes
12 Kalamata olives, pitted & halved or chopped to taste
3 tsp capers, drained
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
400grams of Dried Spaghettini/Fedelinni or even Linguini, for example Di Martino or your favourite artisan brand , personally I always favour pasta di Gragnano and the Di Martino or Faella brands . The rougher exterior of Gragnano pasta seems to embrace sauces in a unique way. This sauce is better suited to long thin dried pasta (do not use fresh pasta) .

In skillet, heat olive oil. Add crushed red pepper flakes and anchovies (stiring and crushing into the oil) cook for 90 seconds then add chopped garlic . Cook until garlic begins to brown a bit and anchovies fall apart. . Add tomatoes, olives and capers. Simmer sauce 8-10 minutes.Add some of the pasta water to the skillett just before the pasta is ready to serve say half a cup.

Add a bit more chopped garlic, parsley and basil. Simmer a few minutes more. Serve on cooked ( al dente of course ) pasta and then 1/3 of a cup more pasta water when you mix everything up. (No Parmigiano Reggiano or any other cheese for that matter are required to this dish )