Monday, 26 April 2010

My Saucy Weekend

I tried a new recipe over the weekend, and boy did I enjoy it! This recipe for that most dubiously-named of dishes, Spaghetti alla puttanesca, is distilled from Beverley LeBlanc's useful Student Cookbook. Anchovies. Olives. Mmmmmm.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

10 black olives
2 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch chilli flakes
1/2 tbsp tomato puree
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
Pinch mixed herbs
200g spaghetti (I have had the best of pasta luck with De Cecco).


- Slice off olive flesh, chop anchovies, peel and chop garlic clove.

- Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add chilli flakes and garlic and stir until garlic is golden brown. Add anchovies and mash with wooden spoon; stir in.

- Stir in tomato puree; then whole can of tomatoes and the olives; and add pinch of herbs. Bring to boil, stirring. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 20 mins, stirring occasionally as needed.

- Bring large saucepan of salted water to boil. Stir in spaghetti, return to boil, and continue boiling for about 12 mins. Should be al dente at this point.

- Drain spaghetti thoroughly in colander, add to pan with sauce, and toss together. Add black pepper to taste.

Eat immediately, preferably with some really light and smackish lager like Red Stripe, which truly brings out its best aftertaste.

Uneaten sauce will keep in a jar for at least a day in the fridge - Ms LeBlanc says for two, but there was no chance here of its lasting that long! - and can simply be reheated. If anything, the sauce tasted better reheated than fresh.

The Student Cookbook, apparently misled by the exotic name, pretends that this is an excellent dish for seduction. All I will say about this is that the last time I ate spaghetti in front of another human being, the local Cthulhu cults didn't die down for the next two years. I shall endeavour to prevent any repetition of this nuisance.


  1. So if you ever (and I hope you will) sit down at our table, I'll serve you something else. Penne with puttanesca sauce?

    (almost wrote "puttaneasca", my fingers want to spell Romanian)

  2. I very much hope so too - and what pasta could be better served among writers than penne?

    In the privacy of my own donjon, and when the Hyades attain their proper elevation, I can't always resist the solitary and tentaculate vice that is spaghetti. I was once interrupted in flagrante with the bolognese, and accidentally converted two door-to-door Jehovah's Witnesses to Pastafarianism on the spot. Still feel bad about that...


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