Putanesca has the advantage of using relatively cheap ingredients. It's strongly flavoured enough that if you've got enough pasta, you can stretch the sauce out over several meals. It's also strongly flavoured enough to be a bit of an acquired taste, but in my opinion it's a taste worth acquiring.
As an english-speaker writing recipes on the internet, I am apparently legally obliged to demonstrate my cosmopolitan credentials by pointing out that the name for this recipe literally translates as "whore's pasta".
- Two big pots
- A colander
- Some cooking oil
Ingredients (for four portions)
- A jar of anchovies, about 100g
- A jar of pickled chillies, about 150g
- A jar of pitted olives, preferably in brine, about 250g.
- A bulb of garlic
- Two onions
- A tin of tomatoes
- About 500g spaghetti
- Peel and chop the onions.
- Add a tablespoonful of oil to one of the pans, heat it, and gently fry the onions. You want them soft, rather than brown. Give them a stir every so often to make sure they don't stick
- Pour away the oil that the anchovies came in, remove them from the jar, and add them to the pan. They'll probably stick together a bit, so separate them out with a fork.
- Remove the olives from the jar -- this is easiest if you pour the brine away into a big jug, tip out the olives you need into a bowl, then pour the brine back in.
- Halve the olives, and add them to the pot.
- Repeat with the chillies -- remove them from the jar and slice them (if they're not already sliced) then add them to the pot. Pickled chillies are generally a lot less ferocious than raw, so you can afford to be a little courageous.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic. When the onions are soft and clear, add the garlic and the tomatoes to the pot and give it all a good stir.
- Cover the pot and leave for about half an hour on a low heat. Give it a stir every ten minutes or so. When you return, the juice from the tomatoes should now be less thin and watery: if this isn't the case, take the lid off and leave it another fifteen minutes.
- Now boil the spaghetti, or whatever pasta you're using, according to the instructions on the packet. If you're using spaghetti, hold it upright in the pan of boiling water, then slowly push it all the way in as it softens until there's none hanging over the side.
- When the spaghetti's ready, strain it through the colander then add it to the sauce, mix it all together, and serve.
- Adding some capers as well as the olives will make the recipe closer to tradition. I've excluded them from the main recipe in the interest of keeping things simple -- I don't find they add a great deal to an already flavourful dish, but they're worth trying!
- You know what does add something? STINKY FUCKING CHEESE. Get some shredded parmesan or off-brand parmesan-like cheese to sprinkle on top and watch everybody you live with recoil in disgust.
- You can remove the anchovies to make the recipe vegan without affecting the flavour too heavily.