Ordinarily this a wintry mid-week supper favourite at Chez Foti; a handy and quick store-cupboard dinner using tinned tomatoes. But with so many fresh tommies to hand it’s been made numerous times over the summer in my efforts to use up some of the glut. And it’s good, so much the better to be made with perfectly ripe, flavoursome, sweet and in-season tomatoes. You won’t be disappointed.
A bit of an Italian classic, Puttanesca is a heady mix of tomatoes, anchovies, capers, garlic, chili and olives. In Italian it literally translates as ‘whore’s spaghetti! Lovely. And it is. If you’ve never tried or made it you should. Deliciously simple.
I have no problem with using the tomato skin or seeds in recipes like this, but purists would balk. It’s up to you. If you want to remove the skins immerse the tommies in boiling water for 30 to 40 seconds then in a bowl of really cold water, they’ll then slip off easily. I use my plum tomatoes (which are the best for cooking with) for this sauce, but any very ripe, sweet tomatoes will be wonderful.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
Enough for 2 grown up folk (with hearty appetites!):
2 tablespoons of olive oil
a clove of garlic, finely chopped
a red chili, finely chopped (or less if you’re adverse to too much heat!)
4 anchovy fillets
450g of fresh chopped tomatoes or a 400g tin of good quality chopped tomatoes
a large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of sugar
60g of stoned black olives
a dessertspoon of capers, rinsed
250g of spaghetti
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a gentle heat. Fry the chili, garlic and anchovies for a couple of minutes until the anchovies are almost disintegrated. Slide in the tomatoes and add a generous pinch of coarsely ground black pepper and a small pinch of sugar. Give everything a good stir. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the spaghetti to packet instructions.
The sauce is ready when it’s thickened and very flavoursome. Stir in the olives and capers. Have a taste check adding more black pepper to suit. Obviously you could add salt but there’s a fair whack already in there from the anchovies and capers so it’s unlikely you’ll need more.
Run the sauce through the spaghetti and serve immediately.
Here’s some other quickie mid-week supper ideas: Tagliatelle with Cherry Tomatoes & Mascarpone, Garden Pasta, Cheese, Courgette & Tomato Bread & Butter Pudding, One Pot Ratatouille, Tomato Tarts, 70s Flashback Stuffed Marrow, Spinach, Courgette & Pesto Risotto, Noodles with Pork & Veggies
September 26th, 2012 at 2:05 pm
looks so delicious! good one!
October 1st, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Thanks so much, it’s definitely one of my favourite mid-week suppers!
September 26th, 2012 at 6:00 pm
October 1st, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Thanks Anne, it is!
September 26th, 2012 at 9:18 pm
I agree with you and rarely skin my tomatoes for a pasta sauce, especially if they are home grown and packed full of goodness. This sauce is a big fave of mine as I love strong bold flavours……..Delicious!
October 1st, 2012 at 1:30 pm
Thanks Laura, I have to admit I don’t skin my tommies for sauces or soups, or for anything really! We had this again for dinner last night, such a great way to use up a few fresh tommies.
September 27th, 2012 at 9:40 pm
This looks lovely and warming, as well as delicious! Perfect for an autumn evening.
October 1st, 2012 at 1:31 pm
Thanks Sarah, it is the perfect pasta dish for an autumnal evening, especially if you have lots of sweet and flavoursome fresh tommies to use 🙂
October 1st, 2012 at 1:29 pm
Lovely comfort food . I live the depth of flavour anchovies give in puttanesca sauce
October 2nd, 2012 at 1:03 pm
I add anchovies to quite a few tomatoey based dishes, takes them to another, very favoursome, level 🙂
October 1st, 2012 at 8:34 pm
Lovely! One of my favourite sauces and I always smile to myself at the name translation! And I never skin my tomatoes, life is far too short.
October 4th, 2012 at 1:15 pm
So glad I’m not alone in being way to lazy to skin my tommies! I love the name too, and very fitting for such a gutsy sauce!
May 22nd, 2013 at 9:39 pm
Ah Puttanesca, one of my all time favourite pasta sauces. I also add parsley to mine. The only time that I skin my tomatoes is if I have a glut, and need to preserve or freeze them, otherwise there are plenty of other things I could be spending my time on.
May 24th, 2013 at 4:47 pm
I can’t believe people bother with the whole skinning thing, unless to freeze them as they do go tough. I do add parsley sometimes, works well with all the other strong heady flavours.