Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

365 Ways to Cook Pasta
Marie Simmons
HarperCollins Publishers (1988)
ISBN 0060186631

This is a book that's been around for quite a while. I use it fairly often, but have't made anything new from it recently. It's a plain, rather homely, book that offers quite good cooking. It covers a wide variety of pasta dishes, the recipes are good, and the instructions are clear. It's actually on the shortlist for my Desert Island Cookbooks list as possibly the only pasta cookbook I would bring. (Judging by another of the "365" cookbooks that I have, I think the whole series is surprisingly good.)  When the week's menu plan got thrown into disarray, I picked this up for a look and stopped at the first recipe, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, whore's spaghetti, supposedly named because it makes a fast snack between clients. Well maybe.

Like many good pasta sauces, you start by softening garlic in olive oil. Then stir in canned tomatoes (I used some purée of deseeded tomatoes that I froze last summer), chopped black olive, capers, dried red pepper, oregano, and coarsely ground black pepper. Simmer that for a while, till the sauce thickens. Then stir in some chopped anchovies (these disappear and add only a complexity to the overall taste, nothing fishy) and some chopped flat-leaf parsley (of which there was none in the kitchen, so I used the curly kind instead). Simmer the sauce a bit longer bit, salt to taste, serve over spaghetti, and enjoy. 

This post is linked to this week's Cookbook Sunday

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