I think Italian cooking is always pretty healthy. It tends to use lots of fresh ingredients and olive oil, but the pasta and breads have to be eaten sparingly. I am trying to cut those carby things out as I follow the Dash diet but don’t want to give up those delicious Italian flavors! Last night, I decided to substitute zucchini noodles for the pasta, adding a tasty puttanesca sauce! Side note: do you know what puttanesca means? It means “belonging to the street walker”, and it’s a spicy tangy sauce – much like the spicy lives of a street walker, I guess! Only Italians would come up with a name like that 🙂 Anyway, I bought a dandy little contraption call the Veggetti (I know, it’s a funny name, isn’t it?) that makes “noodles” out of vegetables, like zucchini.
I then made a modified Puttanesca sauce (modified because I added pancetta – yummy) and tossed it all together for a delicious guilt-free “pasta” dish! The flavors were so intense and delicious! This will definitely remain a favorite 🙂
Zoodles alla Puttanesca
4 zucchini – spiralized
4 oz chopped pancetta – Trader Joe’s sells this already chopped, and I always keep some around
1/2 small can of sliced black olives – drained
2 T capers – rinsed
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce – I make my own and here’s the recipe
1 T anchovy paste
3 Dorot crush garlic cubes – these can be found at Trader Joe’s, too
Fry the pancetta over medium high heat until it’s crispy.
Add the anchovy paste and mix it up.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except the zucchini) and cook until the garlic melts. Mix it all up.
Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and cook only until they are warm. DO NOT OVERCOOK otherwise the noodles will turn mushy (yuck!)
Remove from pan and add a bit of olive oil and red pepper flakes to taste.
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!!!