Puttanesca Sauce: A Recipe by Shabes

Hello Krista’s followers and friends!

Usually when I cook I don’t take measurements; I do almost everything by taste. So when Krista asked me if she could put my puttanesca sauce on the blog, I wasn’t exactly sure how to turn it into an easy-to-follow recipe. To solve the problem, I cooked the sauce and Krista watched my every move, documenting steps and measurements along the way. Here’s the result.

Puttanesca sauce is a flavorful, rustic, hearty, punch you in the mouth sort of sauce which is reflected in its name. (“Puttanesca,” I’m told, actually means “whore’s nest.”) It is not a mild sauce. It is a sauce with a distinct salty (sometimes briny) flavor paired with a good amount of heat. It is also not a pretty sauce. You pour the whole peeled tomatoes into the pot and mash them yourself (great for anger management), which does not make the sauce particularly uniform in terms of texture or aesthetics.

Most puttanesca sauce is not vegetarian, but the recipe below is meat-free. I have excluded the anchovies, which many people find distasteful (I don’t, Krista does). If you do feel like using them, just chop a couple and stir them in with the olives and capers. (Make sure to adjust the final salt content accordingly.)

This sauce goes really well with calamari, shrimp, and all kinds of white fish (from tilapia to sea bass). It pairs nicely with a pinot noir, but if you’re like Krista and you prefer white wine, try a crisp chardonnay.

Spicy Puttanesca Sauce

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 (28 oz. each) cans whole, peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic until tender, about 2 minutes (watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn). Add onions and sauté until they become translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in whole tomatoes (including the juices) and use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes in the pot. Stir in oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper. Stir in olives and capers. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes. (The longer the sauce cooks, the more flavorful it will become.)

Stir in salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot, over cooked pasta. Eat lots. It tastes good.

Source: A Shabes-in-Law original.

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