Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Winston's Pasta Puttanesca

For those of you who have seen my menu plan for the week, you will recognize this recipe as dinner from Monday night. It's one I've had in my repertoire for years, and it is fast, easy, and delicious. In fact, that's where it gets its name: puttanesca, because it is fast and easy, just like the ladies of the night! I love that fun food fact.

And since it comes from my dear friend Winston, who is another one of my food heroes -- he could saute napkins and I'd eat them, he's THAT GOOD -- it is sure to be a gourmet take on a classic, and always a crowd-pleaser. I've made this many times when we've had people over for dinner, and coupled with a yummy salad, it is a perfect dish to serve and impress.

Winston's Pasta Puttanesca
Serves 4
1 pound whole-wheat organic pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)
2 or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly or minced (or less if you prefer -- we just like garlic in our house)
1 shallot (or red onion if you don't have a shallot), diced
1/4 cup capers, drained
1 28 oz. can diced or whole tomatoes, with juice (if you use whole, you'll need to dice them)
1/2 cup olives, any kind and variety you like
1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning (or oregano if you don't have Italian seasoning)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or a few diced anchovies if you are into that kind of thing)
Salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan, grated, as garnish

Cook pasta. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, toss in garlic and shallot and let them cook a little. When the garlic is fragrant and the shallot is near to translucent, toss in the capers and sprinkle Italian seasoning and let the seasoning bloom, about 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and let the sauce simmer for a bit, about 2-3 minutes. Add olives, vinegar, and stir, then let it simmer just a bit more, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn off heat.
Drain pasta, add to sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Serve with grated Parmesan on top.

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