Friday, February 18, 2011

Pasta for Hookers

Legend has it that Southern Italian prostitutes would lure in customers with the aroma of pasta puttanesca. After a hard day's work, they would then gather around a table and enjoy the deliciously salty, spicy and comforting dish. Now I'm not suggesting that you quadruple this recipe and start a happening brothel. You could, however, take a page from the prostitutes' book and make someone's hard day better by serving them the culinary equivalent of a warm hug.

Pasta Puttanesca
Makes 2-3 servings
  • 8 oz / 230 g of linguine or other pasta
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 12 oz / 340 g of grape or cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes (either packed in oil or just rehydrated), chopped
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of capers 
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable broth (in a pinch you could use water or white wine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 fist full of parsley, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: "almesan" (or Parmesan)
1. In a large pot, bring your pasta water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. 
2. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the onions and the garlic and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent or about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the sun dried tomatoes, capers, olives, black and red pepper, oregano and basil. Saute for about a minute. 
4. Toss in the tomatoes and the vegetable broth. Cook until the tomatoes start to break down, which should take around 10 minutes. You can help this process along by using a potato masher to break up any larger tomato chunks. Taste the sauce for salt. You may not need any since olives and capers are usually quite salty.
5. By this time your pasta should be cooked. After you drain it, add it to the sauce, stirring to make sure all the pasta is coated. Cook for a couple of minutes. 
6. Add the parsley, stir and serve. I topped my pasta with some "almesan". The original recipe is in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's  Veganomicon. It is basically just ground almonds, sesame seeds, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. I modified the ratio of the ingredients a bit, used lime zest instead of lemon and added some nutritional yeast. It tastes surprisingly close to the real thing.


  1. Add some chicken, and I'm in heaven!

  2. My first comment! How exciting! Glad you think it sounds good. You can definitely add some chicken!