Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spaghetti Puttanesca

The story goes that pasta alla puttanesca (from puttana, or “prostitute” in Italian) got its name from ladies of the evening who could make this simple, satisfying dish quickly—between clients. Another tale claims the name derived from ladies who set aromatic, tempting bowls of it on their windowsills to entice customers. In my opinion, both could be true. The dish is certainly simple and fast—and its aromas and flavors are most assuredly enticing.

The key ingredients are anchovies, olives, and capers—all deliciously briny and rich. Some recipes call for canned tomatoes, but if you’ve got fresh ones, go for those. A mixture is fine—I simply scoured the garden and came away with cluster, roma, and black cherry varieties. A quick chop is all they need.

Assorted Tomatoes
Serves 4

  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 10-12 flat anchovy fillets (1.5-oz jar), coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 lbs tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup thickly sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Chopped Tomatoes 
Remaining Ingredients
  1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the anchovies and garlic and mash with a wooden spoon until the anchovies are partially dissolved and the garlic is crushed, 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the onion and sauté 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes break down and the flavors meld, 15 minutes. Add the drained pasta to the pan and stir or toss to incorporate.
Mash the Anchovies and Garlic 
Onions Added 
Remaining Ingredients Added
Cooked Sauce
Pasta Added
 Divide the puttanesca among 4 pasta bowls and serve hot.

Spaghetti Puttanesca

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