This recipe is from Bob’s forthcoming book Flavorbomb: A Rogue Guide to Making Everything Taste Better (Appetite/Penguin Random House Oct. 20)
If you like pasta, it’s hard not to love puttanesca. In a few short minutes you can transform a can of tomatoes and a handful of pantry staples into a satisfying sauce. But why settle for “satisfying” when “life-affirming” is within your grasp? To get you there, I’ve used some of my best tricks and hacks from the Rogue handbook to up the ante on the traditional recipe. The result is a bigger, badder, bombastic puttanesca.
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 anchovies, chopped + 1 tablespoon anchovy oil (hack!),
6 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 shallot, diced finely
2 tablespoons capers, drained
½ cup black or green olives, pitted, and halved
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 14-oz can best-available cherry tomatoes (available from most Italian groceries), or plum tomatoes crushed in your hands before adding
1 tablespoon harissa (in a pinch, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes will suffice)
1 teaspoon best-available aged balsamic vinegar (hack!)
zest of 1 lemon
½ cup fried breadcrumbs
¾ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
½ pound spaghetti pasta
- In a sautée pan over medium heat, add oil, anchovy oil, anchovies, 2/3rds of the garlic, shallot, capers, olives and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until garlic and shallots show first sign of browning.
- Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions—but keep al dente.
- Add tomatoes, harissa, and balsamic. Bring to a high simmer, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly, remove from heat and add lemon zest and remaining garlic (hack!). Taste for salt and seasonings, and adjust if desired.
- Reserve 1 cup of pasta water—which at this point should be starchy. Drain pasta, then return it to the pot. Add the sauce, ½ cup Parmigiano and half the parsley. Add pasta water, 2 or 3 tablespoons at a time, incorporating it into the sauce and at the same time coating the pasta with the sauce. You may or may not use up all of the water. The goal is to have your pasta swaddled by the sauce—but not drowning in it. (Pasta continues to absorb water, even as it is being walked to the table. Learning how much water to add comes through trial and error—and taking note each time you make a pasta).
To serve Transfer to individual pre-warmed bowls and sprinkle bread crumbs, remaining Parmigiano, and parsley overtop.
Cooking Time 30 minutes Yield 2 generous servings Advance work Sauce can be made earlier in the day, reheated just before showtime, and tossed with the pasta.
Liquidity nero d’avola simple rustic red from Sicily
For this recipe and more, pre-order Bob’s new book, Flavorbomb: A Rogue Guide to Making Everything Taste Better below:
This recipe was provided by Bob Blumer, Food Network Host, Cookbook Author and Artists, as part of my Instagram LIVE show Takin’ a Bite – Meet the…