Pasta Puttanesca is one of my favorite recipes I found in the last couple years. It is such an easy recipe to make, but has so much flavor. It is a little bit spicy, but not too much. It would make a perfect weeknight dinner or dinner for company on the weekend, as long as your company likes Kalamata olives, since they are the star ingredient of this dish.
Basically, to make Pasta Puttanesca, the only preparation is pressing some garlic, slicing some basil, and blending a can of tomatoes. So simple! It can be made in about 30 minutes or less. I usually think really good food needs time to make, but this dish is definitely an exception. It is one of the most delicious, yet quick recipes that I have made.
Wouldn’t this pasta be perfect for Valentine’s Day? There is just something romantic about Italian food. If you are like my husband and I and don’t want to fight the crowds that night, this would be a great choice to make for your loved one. Add some bread sticks or French bread, and a chocolate dessert, and you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner that didn’t take all day to make. But even if you don’t make it for Valentine’s Day, I hope you try it soon. It is likely to become a family favorite no matter what night it is.
1 pound dried spaghetti (we love angel hair spaghetti)
- 5 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste (I know it sounds like a lot, but you really need it, and it won’t taste fishy)
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (I used 1/4, only use 1/2 if you like it really spicy)
- 1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (preferably Italian)
- 1/2 c pitted Kalamata olives, whole or sliced in two
- 2 Tbsp. drained capers
- Pinch of sugar (optional)
- 3/4 c coarsely chopped basil
- Cook spaghetti in a pot of boiling water until done, according to package directions.
- While pasta boils, cook garlic, anchovy paste, red-pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, purée tomatoes with juice in a blender.
- Add tomato puree to garlic oil along with olives and capers, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready. Stir in sugar if desired.
- Drain pasta and place in a bowl. Pour sauce over top and garnish with basil and extra olives. Serve immediately.
Recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious