As usual when I turn to the pasta section of the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, it’s because I’m broke. Since I had kalamata olives, fresh parsley, and capers on hand, I chose to make pasta puttanesca. The ATK book doesn’t tell you this, but this dish is named for the prostitutes who apparently originated the recipe. It makes sense that a working girl would make this recipe: the ingredients are cheap and it’s quick to prepare. The only ingredient I didn’t have on hand was anchovies. I’ve actually never to my knowledge eaten an anchovy. I’m actually allergic to fish, so I wasn’t sure whether I should eat anchovies or not. I’m not 100% sure that I’m allergic to all fish, and since I wouldn’t be eating a huge amount, I figured it was ok and I wouldn’t need to go to the ER. Plus, The Book urges you not to skimp on the anchovies, because they tie all the flavors together. So I made sure I had Benedryl on hand and prepared to suffer for the sake of this blog. I hope you appreciate it.
The actual cooking is simple. Anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes are sauteed in oil, then canned diced tomatoes are added and stewed for about 20 minutes. Right before serving you stir in chopped kalamata olives, fresh parsley, and capers.
I served the sauce over thin spaghetti. It was quite tasty, I have to admit. My husband liked it as well. I thought all the flavors worked pretty well together. I wished I had some crusty garlic bread with which to scoop up the sauce. After eating a good portion, I thought my lips started itching, although it may have been psychosomatic. But I stopped eating, just to be safe. The anchovies didn’t kill me and I get to cross another recipe off the list. Plus, you know, the yummy dinner.