If you speak any Italian, the name of this dish will probably give you a chuckle. “Puttana” in Italian means whore. I find it ironic that you hear the word angel in the same title. Kind of funny, right? Puttanesca is a classic southern Italian sauce consisting of tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, anchovies and red pepper. It is easy to make and serves as a good quick week night dinner. My husband, the carnivore, didn’t even ask what meat I was serving with the pasta. Typically I keep some anchovy paste in my kitchen, so instead of using anchovies, I just added a few spoons of anchovy paste.
If you’re wondering why in the world a pasta dish would be named after ladies of the evening, here is the scoop. I’ve heard many stories but this one is my favorite. Back in the day, the prostitutes in Italy were only allowed in the grocery stores one day a week. So they stocked up on pantry ingredients and this is what they came up with. It was a cheap easy meal to make especially if they had company…wink wink.
A few weeks ago, I received some free samples of Pomi tomatoes. Since I’m a Jersey girl, there is nothing better than fresh picked tomatoes from my garden or the local farmers market. I am not a canning type of girl so after my stash in the freezer runs out, I am on my own. That means canned tomatoes for the winter. And that is fine. When I received the Pomi tomatoes I realized there is something almost as good as the fresh Jersey tomatoes. Now I can have them all winter long. Pomi tomatoes are 100% natural, have no additives, preservatives or BPA. That all sounds good to me but my main concern was what they tasted like. These were one of the best packaged tomatoes I have ever had. If you want to try them, they are sold in a red carton at many grocery stores.
I do have one bit of advice if you make this dish. Make sure you use a good Italian cheese for topping with. I used freshly grated Asiago cheese but any good Italian cheese will do. Make sure you grate it yourself. It makes the dish taste so much better!
12 ounces angel hair pasta
2 TBS olive oil
3 cloves chopped garlic
26 ounce carton Pomi chopped tomatoes (or you can use a 28 ounce can)
3 TBS anchovy paste
1/4 cup drained capers (from a jar)
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives (from a jar)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped parsley
crushed red pepper, to taste
grated Italian cheese for serving
Cook pasta in a pot of salted water according to package directions. In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil on medium and cook garlic until lightly golden. Add tomatoes,anchovy paste, capers, olives, oregano and parsley. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and thick. Add drained cooked pasta to the pan and mix well to coat pasta. Add crushed red pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese before serving. Makes four servings.