Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rigatoni Puttanesca

Puttanesca is a tricky dish to eat out... though it calls for anchovy paste, not every place will put it in their sauce. You always need to ask the restaurant whether your pasta has some hidden fishy ingredient in it (much like you'd ask about fish sauce at a Thai restaurant) or just avoid it altogether.

So instead, how about I just share a good puttanesca recipe that's anchovy free? No compromising on this one!

I love a good briny olive, but with the amount of olives in the sauce, you won't need to add any additional salt to the recipe. Briny = win; salty = epic fail. Vary it up with your olives too- I used my favorite Italian varieties, plus Greek Kalamatas, which are a staple in our kitchen. And though I'll never share my family's homemade tomato sauce recipe online (sorry ya'll!), I will tell you this: the type of canned tomatoes you use makes an unmistakable difference to your finished product. Use real San Marzano tomatoes for real, sweet, tomato flavor!

The Whats:

* 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
* 1 medium yellow onion, diced
* 2 or 3 large garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
* 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with basil
* 1/3 cup capers, drained
* 3/4 cup mixed Mediterranean olives (Cerignola, Liguria, Kalamata, whatever you like!), drained and chopped
* 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
* 1 lb. bag of whole grain rigatoni

The Hows:

1) In a heavy skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat; add the onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in crushed tomatoes, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the capers and chopped olives, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Set aside.

2) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until al dente. Drain and return rigatoni to pasta pot. Add the puttanesca sauce to the rigatoni and toss until well coated. Top with fresh parsley or freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

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