I think I must have been an Italian in a former life because my love and desire for all things pasta is not normal for an Australian lass, but I don’t care, and I can and will eat it for meal, after meal, after meal. Unfortunately now I have to be a little cautious with my wheat and gluten intake and therefore reserve beautiful fresh pasta for “special” occasions. So I have used wheat free pasta in the following recipe, but of course you can use fresh egg pasta if you like and know that I am jealous, very jealous.
Now speaking of wheat free pasta, anyone who has- I stress has because its not something you would voluntarily choose over “normal” pasta- tried it will understand the disappointment and frustration that comes from trying to find a good alternative. I have tried quite a few. The ‘Doves’ organic is ‘ok’ however the texture is not quite right, interestingly Teco’s ‘Free From’ pasta range is surprisingly tolerable, however the Waitrose selection is the best I have tried yet. I am a little worried that I am getting “used” to the alternatives instead of actually finding a good near match, so if anyone has any advice or opinions on the wheat free pasta matter please, please let me know as my inner Italian woman is crying.
Right, now onto this beautiful sauce………
Spaghetti Con Sugo Puttanesca, or Spaghetti with Puttanesca sauce, or……whores spaghetti. Why whores spaghetti? well I don’t know, I have found a few possible explanations but I think only a true southern Italian would know the answer. It’s very typically southern ingredients of tomato, garlic, capers, olives and anchovies make it a very tasty, tangy and salty sauce, easy to make, and easy to consume too much of it and then you’ll feel very full…but very satisfied.
Spaghetti fresh or dried
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Parsley
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
3 medium garlic cloves
1 small to medium onion
30g Anchovies, about 10 fillets
3 tins of plum tomato
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup vegetable stock
glug of olive oil
2 tbsp capers
1/2 cup of black olives, pitted and halved
Into a food processor goes the garlic and onion, of course if you don’t have a food processor you can finely chop the ingredients by hand. Blitz until finely prepared. Add the anchovies and quickly blitz with the pulse 3 times, you don’t want the anchovies puree, just chopped up so they can be easily incorporated into the sauce.
Heat some oil in a pan over a medium flame, once hot add the onion mix, with the oregano and parsley and gently move about until the onion is nicely softened, and you can really smell the 5 ingredients coming together. You should now be salivating. Add your capers and olives and cook for about 2 mins.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and the vegetable stock. Mix all the ingredients through and with your wooden spoon mush up the whole tomatoes. Now add the sugar. I just about always add some sugar to my tomato sauces, it’s cuts the acid down, just be careful not to add too much, only ever a little at a time and taste in between to determine when it’s just right.
Turn your heat down a little until it’s simmering gently. Leave the sauce to reduce as it needs to thicken and intensify in flavour and only a little time will allow that to happen. Be patient, but don’t forget to stir every now and then, you don’t want it to burn to the pan.
Now, you should have some salted boiling water for your pasta. Pop the pasta on to cook, allowing enough room in the pot for the spaghetti to move freely as it boils. If you cram too much pasta into a small pot without enough water it will all stick together.
Taste the sauce and season as needed.
Drain your pasta, sprinkle a little oil through the colander and then serve, spooning a lovely mound of sauce on top of your al dente spaghetti. Serve with some parmesan and enjoy!