Penne Alla Puttanesca
Today, I would like to share with you my take on the famous Italian puttanesca (literal translation, “in the style of the whore”).
This recipe is the result of some green pepper, baby aubergine and french beans I had lying around in my refrigerator. I thought of adding them to a pungent puttanesca sauce to be enjoyed with some penne.
I cooked wholewheat penne using the absorption method (where you boil the pasta along with the sauce instead of boiling it separately and then tipping it in the sauce). The ratio of pasta to water should be 1:2. It is my favourite way of cooking sauce based pastas since it saves on time and washing up!
This pasta is one of the best I have ever cooked. It tastes just like a “normal” puttanesca except that it is more nutritious thanks to the extra vegetables and some toasted seeds.
to use some vino lingo, here’s a bowl of full-bodied, robust pasta which you won’t forget any time soon
A note on the pasta used. Till recently, I have been cooking and eating white pasta. I have now switched over to wholewheat pasta (fewer calories and carbohydrates) and I don’t notice any change. Many say that it is supposed to be chewier but I didn’t find this to be the case (unlike brown rice where I do taste the difference). So I feel as if I am getting the benefit of wholewheat pasta without sacrificing on taste.
Vegetarians can omit the anchovies.
1/2 Cup uncooked pasta
1 Cup water
1 Head of garlic
3-4 Fresh red chilli (or chilli flakes)
3 Large ripe tomato
1 Green pepper
4 Baby Aubergine
100 Grams french beans
Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 /2 Cup tomato puree
2 Tablespoons capers
2-3 Anchovy fillets
1 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
2 Tablespoons pitted black olives
1-2 Tablespoons sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
Grated Parmesan to serve
- Peel, wash and dice the onion.
- Peel and slice or mince the garlic.
- Wash and finely chop the tomato.
- Wash and slice the chilli (if using).
- Wash, de-seed, de-core and chop the green pepper.
- Wash and snap the french beans in two.
- Wash, remove the top and finely chop the baby aubergine.
- Wash and shred the basil by hand or with a knife.
- Dry roast the seeds till they turn a couple of shades darker and start smelling toasty.
- In a bowl, add the tomato puree, anchovies, capers and olives.
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- When it is hot, lower the heat and add the onion, garlic and chilli (or chilli flakes).
- Add salt to taste, mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Next, add the tomato and green pepper, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Next, add the aubergine, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Now, add the basil, tomato puree, olives, capers and anchovies. Mix well.
- Next, add the pasta and combine it with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add water, turn the heat to high and bring the sauce to boil.
- Once bubbles start appearing on the surface, lower the heat, cover and let the pasta cook for about 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl, garnish with the toasted seeds and sprinkle grated Parmesan according to taste.
- If you are a big anchovy fan like me, feel free to add more of it for an anchovy-y taste (if that makes sense!).