Monday, 14 November 2005

Pasta Puttanesca

I know, I know, this post has been way overdue. I should have immediately blogged about the wonderful Saturday back in October that I spent with a fellow food blogger Sha and her sister Tara. We walked across the Golden Jubilee footbridge from the Embankment side to cross the river Thames and then leisurely strolled along the Southbank culminating in a cafe in the National Theatre where we had pastries and hot cocoa. The sisters were such a good company to be with, in fact we were yakking so much we didn't realise it was already late afternoon and we have to go and fetch my daughter from Euston.

Later in the evening we had dinner at Gerrard's Corner restaurant in Chinatown. Well the food was okayish, nothing really outstanding so I guess I won't be back there for quite sometime.

Sha was so generous to have lugged gifts for me from her French sojourn. Here they are in the picture below from left: Herbes de Provence, Chestnut cream/puree (bottom), olive tapenade (top), anchovies, and organic sweets. Thank you very much Sha and Tara for the wonderful company and these delicious treats!

My kids at first ignored the sweets when I gave it to them probably because the colours were not as vivid as the more commercial-chemical laden ones. But once they tasted it, it was gone in a minute! Hehehe. That's why I keep telling them, don't judge a food by its appearance, taste it first that's what I say.

I thought of doing something with the chestnut cream or the anchovies. Since we were hankering for pasta last night, I thought of doing something quick and flavourful - Puttanesca sauce. I'm sure you've heard of the stories that the name of this sauce has some disreputable origin. Whatever it came from, this certainly is one very tasty sauce. My husband would definitely agree with that. Almost any type of pasta can be used here. For my picture below I used wholewheat spaghetti thus the slightly brownish tint.

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

4 pieces anchovy fillets - chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 fresh red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 x 400 g  can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup sliced pitted olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
250 g  spaghetti
  1. Cook spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot or large pan.
  3. Saute garlic, anchovies, and chilli in the hot oil for about 1 minute.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in olives, parsley, basil, capers, salt and pepper.
  6. Simmer for a further 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add the pasta in the pot and mix well with the sauce. If it's too dry drizzle with a little more olive oil.
  8. Serve immediately.

*Note: It would be better if you could time the cooking of the spaghetti so that it will finish just a few minutes before the sauce so that it is piping hot when you add it in the sauce.

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