Excerpt from Culinary Intelligence: The Art of Eating Healthy (And Really Well) by Peter Kaminsky
My own variation on puttanesca sauce – hence the pun. If you have ever read a recipe for this, no doubt you have come across the tale that it was invented by Neapolitan prostitutes because it could be thrown together quickly. Like many food legends, this one is plausible but improbable. It takes me at least a half-hour to make, which would be a lot of wasted time if you are trying to move a stream of customers through a service business.
You’ll note that I cook the tomatoes with the leftover rind of a Parmesan cheese. We never throw these out. When they are no longer grate-worthy, we freeze the rinds and use them in soups and stews and sauces. In this sauce they add extra umami to an already powerful combination of anchovies and tomatoes. Yeah, I know what “they” – the people who write Italian recipes – say about never adding cheese to a seafood sauce. Don’t listen to them. It is the sheer force of all these flavours that make this sauce ideal with whole-grain pastas. You won’t miss the slitheriness of white pasta. I probably make this 20 times over the course of the winter and never tire of it.
Salt to taste (for pasta water)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
6 anchovy filets (or more if you like)
2 tablespoons capers
½ cup pitted oil-cured black olives
¼ cup white wine, or juice of 1 lemon
2 cups oven-roasted tomatoes, roughly chopped, or one 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with their liquid, roughly chopped
1 rind of Parmesan, pecorino, or other aged, hard Italian grating cheese
Crushed red-pepper flakes to taste
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste (optional)
1 pound whole grain-pasta, such as penne, spaghetti or linguine
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Bring pasta water to boil, add salt, and lower to simmer.
Over medium-low heat, film a skillet with olive oil, add garlic and anchovies until they dissolve and the garlic is golden.
Add capers and olives to skillet, and continue to sauté for 1 minute.
Add white wine, roasted or canned tomatoes, Parmesan rind, red-pepper flakes and sugar. Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring as needed, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, return the pasta water to the boil, add pasta, and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup water, and add this, along with the pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Add parsley. Toss pasta in the skillet to coat thoroughly. Transfer to serving bowl.