We enjoyed this delicious pasta alla puttanesca for dinner the other night, using brown rice spaghetti to make it gluten free for Mac. I find myself using gluten-free pasta more and more often these days. I think it tastes fine and life is much easier in the kitchen, when everyone is able to enjoy the same meal.
I’m a huge fan of pasta alla puttanesca, but don’t make often enough to have the recipe and ratios committed to memory. Plus, I’m eternally curious about how my favorite cookbook writers prepare their food.
So, before beginning to cook, I looked at two different recipes: Slut’s Spaghetti in Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home and Mark Bittman’s version in How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food.
I love that Nigella actually call’s it “sluts spaghetti,” the english translation for pasta alla puttanesca, stating that ”the general consensus seems to be that this is the sort of dish cooked by slatterns who don’t go to market to get their ingredients fresh, but are happy to use stuff out of jars and tins. Something I’m all to happy to do some nights after a busy day.”
One of my reasons for choosing to make this pasta dish for dinner: I had everything I needed right in the pantry; no trip to the market required.
Puttanesca shows up in How to Cook Everything as variation #14 of Mark Bittman’s recipe for fast tomato sauce.
The only difference I noticed when comparing the two very similar recipes was that Bittman’s ratio of tomatoes was higher than Nigella’s.
What I ended up with was a spaghetti puttanesca that was essentially combination of the two. Since I love tomatoes and pastas that are a bit on the saucy side, I opted to go with the greater amount. It turned out delicious. Easy, healthy, spicy and satisfying. (If this is too saucy for you, as it would be for a true Italian, just use less of the sauce and save what’s left to top chicken or fish or make bruschetta.)
What more could you want from an easy weeknight supper, except maybe a simple green salad and loaf of good Italian bread to serve alongside?
- 1 pound gluten free spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 to 8 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
- 1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup pitted black olives, such as Kalamata, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or basil (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it. Once the water comes to a boil, you will want to cook it, according to the package directions, until it’s tender, but not mushy. Before draining the pasta, scoop up a cup of the pasta water to use when finishing the recipe.
- While the water boils and pasta cooks, make your sauce:
- Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Add the finely chopped anchovies, and cook stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the anchovies have almost “melted away.” Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook, stirring all the time, for another minute, so that the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the tomatoes, olives, and capers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the drained spaghetti to the sauce and stir until everything is well combined. If it seems dry, add a little more oil and some of the cooking water.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as desired.
- Garnish with parsley or basil, if desired and serve immediately.
If you liked this pasta puttanesca post and recipe, check out these other links:
- My recipe for Italian Sausage and Pasta with Vegetables
- My recipe for Light and Creamy One Pot Pasta
- Nigella’s recipe for Slut’s Spaghetti
- Mark Bittman’s Recipe for Pasta Puttanesca
- A video of Mark Bittman making Pasta Puttanesca
- A Weight Watchers recipe for pasta puttanesca