This right here ^ is a bowl of culinary genius. ????
Pasta? check; Olives? Check; Garlic? Check; Capers? Check.
Tomatoes? No, and that, friends, is the utter genius of this recipe.
Here you have a bowl of Spaghetti Puttanesca, a reasonably well known pasta dish sure to get the taste buds tingling of most people, but the classic tomatoes have been swapped for the 5 Minute Red Pepper Sauce I introduced to you earlier this week.
Alright, so it may not be a classic, traditional or authentic Puttanesca Recipe (calm down you purists?) but the classic flavours of olives and capers mingle together with the Red Pepper which is refreshingly different, exciting and, right now, my go-to pasta for these rainy, sit on the couch with comfort food, days we’ve been having recently.
And it’s quick. Cook up a batch of spaghetti, toss in the rest of the ingredients, heat and serve; even if you don’t have the 5 Minute Red Pepper Sauce (which, surprise surprise, only takes 5 minutes to make) you’ll have this made in 25 minutes or less. Guaranteed!
Most of the time, I should add, is just waiting for the spaghetti to cook; the perfect excuse to stand about the kitchen sipping on a glass of Chianti, right??
NO of course not, we never need an excuse for that ?
Somethings should never be translated into English; it can ruin the moment and the romance
Take, for example, the title of this recipe Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.
To us English speaking folk this conjures up thoughts of Italy; of pizza, pasta, Tuscany, wineries, people shouting with vibrant hand gestures. It makes us think of our favourite Italian restaurant where we order Puttanesca along with Bruschetta and Nutella pizza (its all about the Nutella pizzas)
However, Puttanesca is derived from either Puttana (bitch) or putta (prostitue/ whore) which, makes this dish known as:
- Spaghetti in the style of the Whores (bitches)
- The Whore’s (bitches’) Pasta ???
Although, just like any other “authentic” or “traditional” recipe, the exact origin of pasta allla puttanesca is highly debated the two most common interpretations I have found include
- Prostitutes created this meal for they were too (lazy? Poor? Professionally engaged? you choose the option and insert into sentence) to go and buy fresh ingredients and would, instead, use ingredients from jars.
- This was a dish made by prostitutes to lure sailors from their ships into the brothels (who could turn down a hot bowl of pasta after months at sea, right?) but, being low in money or resources would use the simple, fermented-in-jar ingredients
The name has also simply been attributed to simply the saltiness of the meal, provided by the capers and olives but how this relates to prostitues I will leave up to you…..
Not quite the romantic images of Itlaly now, eh?
However, despite the name, don’t let this put you off for this Puttanesca recipe really has a “rose by any other name…” situation going on.
As with the origin stories there also comes a certain amount of debate about the actual ingredients in a classic Puttanesca:
Ingredients generally agreed on:
- Pasta (obviously) Type of pasta = heavily debated; spaghetti, penne, fettucini…..
And those ingredients generally debated about (possibly because of regional differences)
- Anchovies; if you wanted to add these I would start with 6 small fillets and adjust from there
- Chilli – some resources say it can’t be a puttanesca without chilli, some say the opposite. If you want to use chilli I would suggest using fresh chillies over chilli powder
I have chosen to omit both of these final ingredients, not for any particular reason but to keep the recipe as short, sweet (even though it is quite salty!) and easy
But seriously, why are we talking about Authentic recipes?
You’re going to ruin that as soon as you add the 5 Minutes Red Pepper Sauce becasue, throughout my in-depth online search, I have never once seen Red Peppers seen as an ingredient of Puttanesca.
But, by ruining a traditional dish, you are about to create and drool over a brand new Puttanesca variation; A mouth-watering hybrid of which you will return to that cooking pot to take the “last little bite” over and over again.
So, go create some ingenuity people and BUON APPETITO!!!
Recipe for 5 Minute Red Pepper Sauce can be found here
- 1 TbspOlive oil
- 400g Dried Spaghetti
- 2 Cups of 5 Minute Red Pepper Sauce (see link above)
- 2 – 3 cloves of Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Capers
- 1 1/2 Cups of Olives
- In a large saucepan/ stock pot, Cook the spaghetti according to the instruction on the packet
- When cooked, drain the spaghetti through a colander. Place the pan back onto medium high heat and cook the garlic with the olive oil for a minute or two. Add the five-minute Red Pepper Sauce and bring to the boil.
- Stir through the pasta and the remaining ingredients and serve with garlic bread, salad or your other favourite Italian sides