It’s been a while, I know. What better way to return than with a fool-proof, hearty pasta dish? This recipe is for a sauce that I simply cannot stop making right now. It’s so tasty, that I keep looking for excuses to eat it at all times of day.
The danger with posting recipes for well-known dishes, is that somebody somewhere will grumble about what is included and what is not. Puttanesca is a tomato-based sauce that generally contains anchovies, capers, onions and garlic. I say generally, because like all recipes as old as this, variations are abundant.
I love the origins of this sauce (google it) and I love how easy it is to adapt to what ingredients you have at any time. At the moment, I use lots of garlic, lots of olive oil, good French olives and anchovies in olive oil. It would be easy to include fresh herbs and other vegetables too.
My one tip for this sauce is: The longer you take, the better it tastes. This sauce benefits from long, slow cooking to achieve a rich, punchy flavour. No need for red wine, stock or anything else…just time. I usually leave it to bubble away gently for an hour and then toss some spaghetti in it. Sublime.
My Spaghetti Puttanesca sauce.
3x 400g tins chopped Italian tomatoes
1 large red onion (sliced)
2 handfuls of good quality black olives (pitted)
5 cloves garlic (peeled and halved)
1x 200g tin anchovies in olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil
I love how easy this is! I use a 20cm cast iron casserole, but any deep pan will do. Put the pan on a low heat on the hob and add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, anchovies (and the oil they were stored with), onion and a good few glugs of your best olive oil. How much is a glug? Well, put it this way, I love olive oil, so I put a lot in. You’ll need at least 5 tablespoons.
Once in, give the ingredients a good stir and then leave them to become friends for the next forty minutes to an hour. Remember, don’t rush it! Simply return to give everything a good stir every now and again. You’ll see the sauce turn into a deep, hearty, bubbly, lava lake of loveliness.
If you want to add capers or use brown onions instead of red, you can. If you don’t like olives, don’t add them. If you prefer less garlic, tone it down. This is a versatile sauce that you can make for YOU. Please yourself and your family by tailoring it to your tastes.
When you’re happy with the thickness of the sauce, taste it and add sea salt and pepper if it needs it. Be careful with the seasoning; anchovies disintegrate during cooking and will season the dish for you, so any extra salt should be added with care.
Toss your favourite spaghetti in and serve with crusty bread and a smile! Once the spare sauce has cooled, I keep it in the fridge for the coming week and use it whenever I am peckish. Yum!