So a few months back I was trying to spice things up in my cooking life and I decided to add a “culture night” to our menu once a week where I would pick a country and find an authentic recipe to make, and learn different cool facts and traditions from that country that we could discuss over dinner.
Sad to say, life got busy and we only did it once (however, as I’m typing this I am realizing that I really need to continue it because its an AWESOME tradition!). But once was all it took for us to find this amazing Spaghetti alla Puttanesca from Italy that has now become a “husband requested” regular in our rotation. And the best part is that it can be thrown together in 10 minutes! So, its perfect for a rushed weeknight dinner, but its also fancy enough to have for company or as a nicer meal.
Basically, its Italian heaven. Full of chunky tomatoes, capers, olives, and red pepper flakes for the added kick and topped with as much fresh Parmesan cheese as your plate can handle (I mean that literally), it truly doesn’t get any better than this!
And, for all you vegetarians out there, my version is meatless! To tell you the truth, the first time I made this I just forgot to pick up anchovies at the store, but we liked the anchovy-less version so much we’ve never gone back. In all honesty, I’ve made this like 6 times, and the last time I made it I added ground beef to it just for kicks.When I asked my husband if he liked it with meat better he said, “There isn’t meat in this normally?”
Yeah. Its that kind of satisfying.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (Minus Anchovy’s) and with Fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 package of Spaghetti noodles (any kind)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
2 1/2 oz Capers (buy the tiny ones preserved in salt. I found mine next to the Olives)
1 can pitted black olives (the original recipe says to buy ones preserved in brine, I couldn’t find those so I just used Large normal black olives)
2 cans diced tomatoes (Italian style)
1/4-1/2 tsp. Chili flakes (more or less depending on your preference)
Salt for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
Rinse the capers under running water, then pat them dry with a kitchen paper towel. Chop the olives into rounds. Put the olive oil into the pan and heat the oil on medium/low heat. Crush the garlic with the blades of your knife (or just use the pre-minced kind like I do!) and add it to the pan. Sweat the garlic off for a few minutes until it is golden in color (but don’t let it burn or it will be bitter!). Add capers and black olives. Give a good stir. Add the tomatoes. Stir. Add the chili and stir for a few seconds. Then simmer for 10 minutes. Check for salt and season according to taste. Let simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over hot noodles loaded with fresh Parmesan cheese.
recipe source: Adapted from italyum.com. Just click here to see the original. They have step by step pictures that are helpful!
picture source: here The observer Nigel Slater