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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Puttanesca, On Request

So, after my post on the delicious Davanzati Sauce, I had someone ask if I've tasted or made a Puttanesca that I really like...
Well, yes!

I was going to write a new post about Tuscany - the wedding, the subtle differences in taste between the food in Florence vs. the surrounding countryside - and it's coming, it's coming, but I didn't want this to get lost in all the excitement.

So since your wish is my command, dear reader, last night we made Puttanesca (a very yummy one, if I may say so myself) and ate it with garlic marinated barbeque chicken.
Dont ask.
Ok well - if you really want to know - I'd eaten too much spaghetti in Italy, we didn't have any in the house, we did have some chicken though, and lots of garlic, both of which I wanted to use up, it was one of those lusciously warm summer nights in London where it's light (and warm) out till 9, our new barbi needed using, and I like looking at my roses while we eat.

Are you convinced? It's ok if you're not. And even if you are, I suggest you stick to Spaghetti. There's a reason why normal people eat Puttanesca with Spaghetti....

So, here you go!
Here's what you need:

- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbs capers, drained
- Small tin of anchovies in olive oil (approx 30g) OR 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 handfuls big black olives, pitted
- 2  cans tomatoes, drained and chopped (this is about 14 ounce or 400gram)
- 3 small dried red chiles, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (or 1 tbsn dried oregano works just as well)
- 1 handful fresh basil or parsley, both do the trick
- Salt/pepper, to taste

Right. Now, Sid didn't know (still doesn't) that Puttanesca has anchovies. He won't touch it if he finds out. My point is - with the mix of all the other ingredients, it doesn't taste fishy at all, but if it alarms you, just skip the anchovies altogether and use a few more capers.

So, here's how you do it:
Fry the garlic, capers, olives, anchovies, chiles, and oregano in a little olive oil for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until you have the sauce reduced to the consistency you like. Add seasoning, remove from the heat, rip the basil leaves over it, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Salty (from the anchovies), spicy (from the chillies) and wonderfully fragrant (from the garlic).


By the way, last night - my chicken had a simple marinade of crushed garlic and olive oil. Sid did the manly thing and barbequed it (on our new barbie, thanks Subhi and Gareth!), I made a salad - a simple affair, with a mix of Boston and Romaine lettuce combined with sliced fennel, and cherry tomatoes, dressed with olive oil and vinegar. And we used this easy-to-make, hearty, delicious Puttanesca as a dipping sauce for the chicken.

But still - please stick to Spaghetti!

Ciao for now!

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