Friday, 20 April 2007

Naughty but Nice


There is nothing like a good tasty pasta sauce that takes minutes to knock up. And this one, a rather tried and tested recipe, is no exception. And with the added bonus of an interesting name. Pasta Puttanesca, or Whore's Pasta, is one of our favourites.

Why Whore's Pasta then? I've resisted looking up the real reason for this as I'm a fan of the fable. I would prefer to have my own idea or listen to others than go straight to Google for the answer. So here is my theory.

In a little town in Italy in 1927, a local 'lady of the night' was doing a bit of high class entertaining with the town mayor. Now, the town mayor should have known better then to dabble with prostitutes. His manifesto that year read, 'We must rid the streets of this vermin that lure our good men to another bed and inflict them with rare tropical diseases'. Or something like that. Of course, Mr Mayor being a 'good man', could not resist the temptations of said lady and was promptly led away to her bed. After making love, the lady said to the mayor, 'If you do not remove your manifesto from the forthcoming election, I will oust you as the bigamist that you are. Oh, and make me a delicious pasta sauce.' Mr Mayor was no cook, but in a panic threw together a quick sauce using the only ingredients that she had in her fridge. She loved it (much to his surprise, as what can you do with a few old capers, olives and fish?). He also removed his manifesto and promptly lost the election. The prostitute stuck to her word and never told anybody. And every night, poor old Mr Mayor would slave away making this delicious sauce for the Puttanesca. He also developed a persistent scratch. But got the odd freebie.

What waffle. But the sauce is delicious. Salty, hot and sour and incredibly fresh, it coats any pasta in a seductive manner and leads you astray as you lick your lips with every bite. You can knock it up in the time it takes the pasta to boil, and you don't have to worry about losing any elections. Try the sauce out, then whilst you are eating it, think up some wild stories and send them over to me. Only fables of course...

Puttanesca Pasta Sauce
Feeds 4

Olive oil
1 small can of anchovies
A pinch of chilli flakes
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
50g capers
100g stoned black olives (I like the salty Greek olives)
6 tomatoes, quartered (or 1 tin of plum tomatoes)
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Freshly ground pepper

1 - Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Throw in the anchovies and mash with a fork so that it disintegrates in the oil. Add the garlic and chilli and soften.
2 - Add the tomatoes and stir until slightly reduced. Add the capers and olives and warm through.
3 - Finish off with a good grinding of black pepper and fresh parsley.
4 - Stir through your pasta or spaghetti of choice with Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

kethry said...

i like to make a quick pasta sauce that uses salami strips, or bacon bits, or no meat at all, black olives, onions and peppers, mushrooms (and any other veg i got lurking in the fridge like courgettes or aubergines), maybe some peas (we're on a budget!).. i then usually add some flavoring, either tomato or balsamic vinegar or pesto as a sort of base, then add more herbs. Its a recipe that changes every time i make it. the few things that remains the same are the olives, onions and peppers, and the final ingredient, cheshire cheese. A friend put me onto this: if you cube it, whack it in the microwave and nuke it for 10 seconds or so, it goes kinda squidgy. If you then mix it in the pasta and pasta sauce right before serving, it sticks to the pasta in lumps, melting, but remaining whole (as opposed to cheeses that completely melt) and when you eat it you get a rush of flavour from the cheese, so every bite is different.