Puttanesca

I’ll leave other people to discuss the origins of this sauce, but it’s a good bold in-yer-face dish, for a cold damp evening.

The olives should be whole when you buy them, as they start to lose flavour the minute you stone them. The tomatoes need to be drained of their juice so the whole thing doesn’t taste like ketchup: empty the tin into a sieve and give it a shake or two. As always, used dried oregano, and the poshest anchovy fillets you can find.

Per person:

  • half an onion
  • four anchovy fillets (more if you dare)
  • two cloves garlic
  • a pinch of dried chilli
  • half a dozen Kalamata olives, stoned and chopped roughly
  • half a 450g tin of chopped tomatoes, drained
  • salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil

Dice and fry the onion and chilli (with a pinch of salt) in the olive oil until the onion is pale gold.

Meanwhile, slice up the garlic finely, and when the onion is done, push the onion mix to the edge of the pan and fry the garlic ’til it’s translucent in the middle and gold on the edges.

Add the olive, anchovies, tomato and oregano, grind over some black pepper, and simmer on a very low heat for about ten minutes; as long as it takes you to do the pasta.

Serve on pasta with plenty of grana and more pepper.

Variations

Whilst frying the onion, garlic and chilli, you could also add some finely chopped chicken breast. I’d suggest not draining the tomatoes in this case.

Alternatively, you could slice up a fresh tuna steak (don’t bother with tinned) and slip it on top for the simmering phase.

Some people like to add capers, if you do, add them at the last minute, as cooked capers are even more horrid.

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