Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dining with the whores

No, I am not in the same social circles as Gov. Spitzer. I am only a fan of prostitution in so much as it seems to have been the origins of one of my favorite pasta sauces. Pasta Puttanesca, in all of its salty, spicy deliciousness was a quick supper of the "working girls" way back when, or so rumor has it. As it turns out, it is an excellent dinner for the working mamas too, different line of work entirely, but still...busy people need speedy meals, right?

I make a rapid version that suits my family, but may be a bit salty for non-salt lovin' folks. I don't know many of them so I can't say for sure, but since it hits my salty cravings just right, it is a suspicion I hold. If you are a moderate salt lover, you might want to cut back on the capers and anchovies, but if you choose to go that route, really, what is the point?

Put water on to boil for your favorite pasta. I like whole wheat penne, or Barilla high protein penne, but really, any pasta that floats your boat will work just fine.

While the water is getting ready to boil, put a large saute pan on medium heat.
Once the pan is hot, add 1 tin of good quality anchovies in olive oil, including all of the oil.
Add 3-4 cloves of garlic, crush.
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1/2 cup pitted kalamata, chopped into smaller bites, about 4-6 pieces per olive.
Once all of this has been heated, add a 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes. I like Pomi or Muir Glen Organic, but any good brand will work well.
If there are no children on the guest list, or those children love spicy foods, add a couple of good shakes of crushed pepper flakes,

By this point your water should be boiling, dump in your pound of pasta and cook until it is slightly underdone, probably a minute less than the directed time on the package.
While your pasta is cooking, let the sauce continue simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add to the sauce, cook in the sauce for a minute or two. And that's about it. I like to top it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you and your dinner companions are of drinking age, this is one of those meals that craves a big glass of bold red wine.

This goes over like gangbusters with my kids, but keep in mind, Big Dog was eating capers plain, by the fist-full as a toddler and they both go gaga for a good feta stuffed olive, so your results may vary.

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