Pasta Puttanesca – Roman Comfort Food

Italian food has a wonderful variety of different regions and styles. In my travels, I have learned to appreciate the delicacy and subtlety of the various regional cuisines. This is one of those recipes that reflects true home style Italian cooking of Rome.

The loose translation of this dish is, “spaghetti in the style of a prostitute”. I don’t know exactly why it has this name, but I have heard that it was a quick dish to throw together, and as such it was popular with the “ladies of the evening”.

Ingredients
1 large finely chopped Onion
4 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
2- 28 oz. cans of crushed Tomatoes, or whole tomatoes that are lightly chopped in the processor. San Marzano’s are the best.
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 tsp. Red Pepper flakes or a few whole red peppers
4 to 6 Anchovy filets, leave out if you want it to be vegan
¼ cup of Capers, (Try to get the salted capers and prepare them by rinsing and then soaking for 30 minutes. it\’s worth the extra effort, as the flavor is vastly superior to the brined capers).
½ cup pitted Kalamata Olives
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Parmesan Cheese or non dairy cheese substitute to keep it vegan.
Note: You will notice that there is no salt in this recipe. When you consider the olives, anchovies and capers, you really don’t need additional salt. If you omit the anchovies, you might need a pinch of salt.
Add the olive oil to a saucepan on medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, and cook until translucent. 
Add the anchovy filets and saute until they melt, then the red pepper flakes and the black pepper. Let the mixture sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat, until the mixture comes together.
Then add the tomatoes, bring it back to a simmer, and reduce the heat  and let it simmer uncovered. 
After 30 minutes, add the capers and olives and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve over penne, bucatini or spaghetti. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Note: If you want the best salted capers, go to www.gustiamo.com

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