Pasta Puttenesca

This is a great go to recipe when it’s summer…or fall…or winter…or really whenever. It hits the same notes (and is just as easy) as spaghetti, but it’s not quite as heavy. First introduced to me by Rachael Ray, I’ve seen this made a million different ways since. According to legend, puttenesca is the Italian word for “ladies of the night.” Apparently the spicy smell attracted men from the docks. The fact that I love it…not sure what that says about me. Moving on…
This is a great dish – a few specialty ingredients, but honestly, don’t sweat if you can find stuff or don’t like it. Just leave it out. I keep all of these items on hand, and the hubs LOVES this dish. Plus, I can make the sauce in the time it takes the pasta to cook, which is always a plus. This dish is really fast and easy – kind of like our ladies. Without the scare of STDs. That’s always nice.

You’ll need:

1 pound pasta, any cut (I use long cuts, but it would be good with whatever)
2-3 T Olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (or, if your me, 5-6. I love garlic!)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced (optional), or 1 lb of shrimp, defrosted
1/2 – 3/4 cup white wine
1-2 T anchovy paste (You can leave this out if it freaks you out. Honestly, the flavor is awesome and with paste, you just don’t have to think about it. It dissolves anyway.)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1-2 cans artichoke hearts (2 if you’re cooking for the hubs – he loves them)
10 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1-2 handfuls kalamata olives, chopped (Again, if you don’t like them, leave them out. Could also sub in green olives here. I hate black olives, but I suppose they would also work.)
2 T capers
1 T basil
1 T Thyme
1 T oregeno
Red pepper flakes (To taste, depending on how spicy you want it.)
Salt and pepper to taste (Go easy on the salt – the olives, capers and anchovy paste should give you enough.)

Get your water on to boil the pasta.

While that’s going, heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add your olive oil.

Chop your garlic, onion and red pepper, and saute in the oil 3-4 minutes. If you are using chicken, throw that in and cook until it’s about done, 5-6 minutes.

Throw in your white wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any of the bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. This is called deglazing. It rocks.

Somewhere in here, your water will boil, so add the pasta. Cook until just about done (it will cook in the sauce for a minute or so, so undercook by that much) and drain. Don’t rinse!

Add the rest of the ingredients to the sauce. If using pre-cooked shrimp, add now as well.


When the pasta is done, add and stir again. Let cook for 1-2 minutes.

That’s it. No lie. Top with some cheese if you want and eat up.

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