When I was in Italy earlier this month, I ventured into a book store in Milan and went straight to the cookbook section. I wanted to see if there was a simple cookbook which gave great down-to-earth recipes for the simple foods created in Italy. As I’ve mentioned before, I love Italian food because it is so simple – the ingredients are genuine and the taste is not too “messy”. I found not one, but two, cookbooks which struck my fancy. The first one was “La Cucina Milanese”…and this one had so many recipes in it that my mom cooks that is was like home to me 🙂 I was even surprised to find a chapter on Lumache e Rane (snails and frogs)! Now, I’m not that adventurous but I guess these are widely eaten in the Milan area (I don’t think I’ve ever had them, though..thankfully!). The other cookbook was “La Cucina Borghese”. This book features recipes that are cooked in the countryside and with simple ingredients. I have been experimenting with these books since I’ve been home and have discovered some twists on old recipes as well as some new recipes! One of the new ones I tried was the Puttanesca sauce for spaghetti! Of course, I’ve heard of this sauce but I’m not sure I ever really tried it. The term comes from the Roman “ladies of the evening” and I think it’s named this way because the sauce has a bit of a kick to it! It’s a funny name for a sauce that is absolutely delicious. My version has an omission in it – olives! I like olives by themselves, but I’m not crazy about them in a sauce. But, if you are an olive lover, by all means, add them in!
Pasta alla Puttanesca
1. Saute 2 cloves of garlic and about 1/2 t. red pepper flakes (add more if you like it hotter) in 1/4 cup olive oil.
2. Crumble a can of tuna and add 5 chopped up anchovy fillets. Mix them up and add them to the garlic and oil mixture.
3. Cook them a few minutes. Add about 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce and cook until the sauce is warmed.
4. Add 1/4 cup drained capers and mix gently.
5. Pour over 1 lb. of cooked spaghetti. Top with some grated parmesan cheese, if desired. ENJOY!!!