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I’ve had the busiest week!  I didn’t bake a thing and barely cooked at all.  However, I ordered the new pastry book by Pierre Hermes and it arrived yesterday!!!!  You can order your own through Amazon here.   Needless to say the anticipation in my house can be cut with a knife!  Now the only question is what to make first?!?!

Oh happiness!

What do prostitutes have to do with this you might wonder?  Nothing at all.  That’s a completely different subject.  One of the only thing I managed to find time to cook this week and I want to share is….Spaghetti alla Puttanesca!  Now I must admit I read someone else’s blog and that is what gave me the idea.  I’ve had it many times before and love it but this blogger did things a little differently.   I use tomato sauce when making this and she used fresh grape tomatoes and white wine/chicken broth!  What a clever idea.  There were a few other differences in her recipe, she doesn’t use capers which I think are a must,  so I adapted and used her three ingredients with my basic recipe.  You can find her recipe at The Pioneer Woman Cooks  First a picture of the end result to tempt your tummy and then a history of the name!

Pasta of the Prostitutes (puttanesca)

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.  Puttana in Greek and Italian is a prostitute.  The story goes that a restaurant somewhere in Italy would make this dish for the working girls to get a quick pick-me-up before going back to the streets.  It is a very quick dish to prepare and DELICOUS!  I don’t know if the story is true but if this dish is going to have a story,  might as well be it.  I remember my dad used to order this and make a big deal of telling us the story!   I am putting approximate measurements on the ingredients because I don’t really measure and you shouldn’t either. This dish is very individual so taste along the way and add what you want more of.
  • 1/2 onion
  • at least 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets (very important for the flavor, don’t be afraid!)
  • assorted olives chopped into pieces (only please don’t use canned black, they have no taste)
  • 2 Tb capers
  • 2 Tb chopped sun dried tomato
  • 1 Tb red pepper (flakes or whole dried ones chopped)
  • 1 carton grape tomato (the one I used was 10 oz)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 glugs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt/pepper
  • For the topping, fresh basil and soft goat cheese.

Heat olive oil in a skillet, chop the onion & cook on med.  Chop the garlic & the anchovy and add to the skillet.  The anchovy should almost dissolve away leaving a salty flavoring.  Add the chopped olives & capers with a little bit of the juices.  Add the red pepper, the chopped sun dried tomato (I used frozen which are supposed to be rehydrated but I just toss them in dry and they hydrate in the liquid as it cooks). Cut the grape tomatoes in half, throw them in and sprinkle with some sugar.  I always put sugar in my tomato sauce as it cuts some of the acidity and brings out the flavor a bit more. Let all this cook until it combines really well and add the white wine and chicken stock as soon as it starts to get dry or before! Taste and then salt and pepper.

Wonderful smells should be starting.

Meanwhile your pasta should have been cooking and is now done.  I pour my sauce onto the cooked pasta, tear up the basil into pieces and put on top along with some goat cheese which melts slowly into the dish. Oh it’s divine!  You can add parmesan if you want, it really doesn’t need it.  Serve with a salad, or crusty bread….or just as it is.  Oh I forgot, since I’m so used to this being more of a tomato sauce (I usually use a can of chopped tomatoes), I was worried about there not being enough tomato flavor from the grape tomatoes but I didn’t have any paste….so I used a squirt or two of catsup (or ketchup, we have a debate in my house regarding which is the correct spelling, the outcome has not been determined yet).  Yes I have been known to use catsup for flavoring in soups before as well.  Sorry to the purists but it works!

Once more....

Come to think of it, if it weren’t for other bloggers inspiring me to cook this week it would have been fast food all the way.  This dish and one other are the only things I actually made.  How sad.  The other dish (which I cooked two nights in a row!) was courtesy of Chica Andaluza’s Huevos Revueltos Con Gambas y Setas, which translates as Scrambled Eggs with Prawns & Mushrooms.  Quick, easy and tasty.  I’m ashamed to say what the rest of our dinners consisted of…….
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