Our entire family loves everything salty, sour, pickled, fermented or brined. We are big fans of olives, capers, and pickles, anchovies, sardines, anything with vinegar, so Puttanesca is right up our alley. I am an equal fan of homemade pasta and box pasta. I grew up eating grocery store box pasta and I love it, I’m not going to lie. I probably make my own pasta about half the time, but sometimes I just really want good old box spaghetti. Plus it is way easier and faster. 🙂
This is a super quick dish if you use store pasta. It comes together in about 20 minutes. You can add some good canned tuna packed in oil if you want to add some protein, but I like it as is. I decided to serve this with homemade garlic bread on a loaf of french bread I still had in my freezer from that last time I made it, along with a citrus and beet salad because I had some beets in my fridge I needed to use.
Puttanesca for 4-6 people (you can cut in half for less):
- 3/4 cup olive oil (divided)
- 8 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped or use this anchovy paste for less mess (you want about 3 tbsp total chopped anchovies)
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup capers, drained and chopped (sometimes I am too lazy to chop them)
- 1/2 cup pitted black olives (I use oil cured ones, which are very salty so if you use those, be careful not to add too much salt to the dish)
- 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes, broken up with your hands
- salt to taste
- 16 oz dried spaghetti
- minced fresh parsley
- 2 ounces grated parm, plus more for serving
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
In a medium skillet, combine 1/2 cup oil, garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium until garlic is very lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add capers and olives and stir. Add the tomatoes, stir, and bring to a simmer for a few minutes to bring it together. If adding tuna, gently flake it into the sauce but don’t stir it in too much. Remove from heat.
Cook spaghetti according to the package, but 2 minutes less than it says so its still pretty al dente. Using tongs, transfer pasta to your sauce. Add a few tbsp of the cooking water to the sauce and put over medium high and bring it up to a simmer. Cook, stirring, and adding additional pasta water as needed to keep the sauce loose, until the spaghetti is perfectly cooked (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from heat and add remaining oil, parsley, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
For my garlic bread recipe, see my previous post here.
I love the convenience of already cooked beets in the produce section of the grocery store, but we have been burned too many times by sand or dirt in them, so I almost always roast my own beets. To do so, just remove the beet greens first. You can wash these well and cook them like any other greens and serve on the side, they are delicious. I often wash them and feed them to my hens as a treat. Scrub the beets well, and remove the tops and bottoms because sand and dirt can linger there even with scrubbing. Place the beets in 2 layers of heavy duty foil and drizzle some olive oil over and sprinkle with salt. Wrap them up tightly and place into a 450 degree oven for about an hour. Once they cool, use a paper towel to rub off the skins and cut them as desired.
Citrus and Beet Salad:
- 1-2 bunches of beets
- a few oranges or grapefruits or any kind of citrus
- a few tbsp of crumbled feta or goat cheese
- a few tbsp of juice from the citrus
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey (optional)
- 2 tbsp any kind of vinegar you like (I often use red wine or sherry vinegar here)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- some coarsely chopped pistachios (I used these salt and vinegar ones bc I like the pop of flavor they add)
- fresh basil
Mix the oil, honey, vinegar, citrus juice, salt and pepper to make the dressing. Place your cut up cooked beets into a bowl and toss them in the dressing. I like to supreme my citrus for this, but you can also just peel and throw in the wedges, or cut up into pieces, however you want to do it. Toss them in the dressing, and add the cheese and basil and check the seasoning. You can store this in the fridge for quite a while if you leave the cheese and basil off until serving.
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