Pasta for Grown-Ups (a.k.a. Pasta Puttanesca)


I first stumbled across a Pasta Puttanesca-like recipe a few years ago when I was trying to put together a meal from the meager supplies I had in my cupboards and fridge. I usually always have a tomato on hand and with some capers, canned tuna, and some questionable parsley, I had a quick and easy Italian dinner.

Since that night, I’ve perused a few recipes and added more of the staples like olives and anchovies. I know what you’re thinking. Anchovies? I remember as a kid making a face anytime I saw someone order that stinky pizza with the fish on it. It took about twenty years for me to actually get over the fishy part and value them for their unique salty flavor. Once they melt in the sauce and meld with all the other ingredients, you won’t even notice them. All you’ll be able to taste is how just a few simple ingredients can transform into something so complex. What literally translates as “whore’s pasta” keeps you coming back for seconds…and thirds.

2 tbsp. olive oil
red pepper flakes, to taste
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5 oz. anchovy fillets
3 tbsp. capers
15-20 oil cured black olives, chopped
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, cut in the can with kitchen shears
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked to al dente
a handful of parsley, chopped

parmesan, to taste

This pasta is so easy it practically cooks itself. Heat up the oil and cook the chili flakes, garlic, and anchovy fillets until the garlic is golden and the anchovies dissolve. Add the capers, olives, and tomatoes with their juices. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, or as long as it takes to cook the pasta. Mix everything together and top with parsley and parmesan.

We had some leftover butternut squash so we decided to whip up an easy soup to sub for our usual salad. The sweetness of the squash was a nice complement to the saltiness of the pasta.

3-4 cups butternut squash, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
3-4 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper to taste
crème fraiche

Sautée the onion until golden and add the garlic for a few minutes more. Add the squash and cook until just brown around the edges. Deglaze the pan with the wine and toss in a few sprigs of thyme. Combine with the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender. We like to use our burr mixer to get the soup to a creamy texture but a potato masher would work for a chunkier version. Finish with a swirl of crème fraiche and chives.

Buon appetito!


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