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Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Linguini alla puttanesca

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." - Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, My Own Story

I’ve realised only recently that we have a limited repertoire of pasta dishes.  We mostly cook the basics at home - Lasagne, carbonara, baked ziti, spaghetti Bolognese, chicken pasta, beef stroganoff, pesto, prawn-fetta pasta and marinara.  Although I have tasted several other fancier varieties in restaurants, I have never tried to replicate any at home.  Ages ago, a neighbour of ours in Manila shared a Puttanesca recipe over the fence.  Literally.  Well, almost literally as she lived 2 townhouses away.  First, she shared a bowl of the pasta dish and then mum requested for the recipe.  And shared she did.  But I’m bad at keeping hand-written notes especially those which are written by myself.  And so I’ve lost it, and have never tried looking for one again.  We’ve moved overseas and life went on.  Until recently, when I came across this from taste.com.au.  Another dish with an impressive resume.

This Linguini Alla Puttanesca is adapted from the celebrity food critic Matt Preston, via taste.com.au

Olive oil, for frying
1 large brown onion, diced
25g anchovy fillets 
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup red wine
400gcan tomatoes
150g black olives, drained (we got bottled black olives and simply sliced off the pits)
1/3 cup capers, washed and drained
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, washed and chopped
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
2 long red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
400g spaghetti or tagliatelle
Vegetable oil, for frying

    Heat the olive oil in a non stick frying pan over medium low heat and cook the onion for 6-8 minutes until translucent.

    Add the anchovies, pressing down with a fork to lightly mash then add the crushed garlic cloves and saute for 3-4 minutes until cooked through.

    Pour in the wine and cook down, scraping any caught bits on the pan back into the sauce. Add the can of tomatoes, olives and 1/4 cup capers. Stir and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add half the parsley and squeeze in the juice of the lemon. Adjust the seasoning with salt and a little sugar so it is in balance (but only if needed, those capers and olives will add lots of salt). Stir in half the chilli. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until flavours are combined.

    Meanwhile, cook the pasta in well salted boiling water until al dente – or still a little firm to the bite. Drain and toss with a little oil. Keep warm.

    Dry the remaining tablespoon of capers on kitchen towel and then fry in vegetable oil until crispy. Drain on paper towel.

    Serve the dish at the table garnished with the crispy capers, the lemon zest, remaining chopped parsley and chilli (if using).

    Serve with crusty bread.

      Mum used linguini pasta as this was the only one we had in our pantry.  Great grown up dish!  I loved the authentic Mediterranean taste which comes from the capers and olives!  The gremolata (parsley and lemon rind mixture) and chilli garnish gives the dish that oomph and that X factor.  

      Since we now have a pasta maker (manual) bought at a bargain from Aldi a few weeks ago, its time to venture into other pasta dishes to add to our pasta night!

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