One of my husband’s favorite dishes is Pasta Puttanesca. He loves everything about it–the pasta, the salty flavor from the olives and capers, and the sauce. To him, it’s the total package. He even tells the servers at our favorite local Italian restaurant, La Trattoria, that he dreams about this dish.
I decided since this dish seemed fairly straightforward, I would try to recreate it at home one evening when I was at a loss for what to fix for dinner. I had everything except capers, and I knew it wouldn’t be the same without the homemade pasta at La Trattoria, but even if I messed it up, how bad could it really be? So here is my “recipe” for Puttanesca in a pinch. I used miso to replace the anchovies used in some recipes and also the extra saltiness of the capers. If you need to restrict sodium due to heart disease or hypertension, just leave it out. If you prefer a smoother sauce, use crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes. In the summer, this would rock with fresh tomatoes!
Puttanesca in a Pinch
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons of oregano
- 1 – 28 oz can of whole plum or San Marzano tomatoes (low sodium)
- 1/2 of a 10 oz bottle of pitted Kalamata olives, slice olives in 1/2
- 1/2-1 tsp of miso
- 1 lb of whole grain pasta of your choosing
- A few shakes of crushed red pepper
- Start a nice big pot of water boiling for your pasta and add it when it comes to a rolling boil. When the pasta is done to Al dente, drain it and set it aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, place a small amount of water or veggie broth in a big skillet, heat it up and add the onions and garlic and sauté a few min until soft. You can also start them with no liquid and just add a small amount if they stick.
- Add the oregano, crushed red pepper, and olives and heat quickly.
- Here’s the fun part. Warning, this is messy. I love the feel of the tomatoes in my hands so I just pluck them out of the can and use a paring knife and roughly chop them as I add them to the pan. Then add the extra juice from the can.
- Heat the sauce through or cook it down a little if you prefer, then add the pasta, coat the pasta with the sauce, sprinkle with nutritional yeast if you like, and serve!
If you add capers, just add them near the end and leave out the miso. You can add some of the brine from the bottle also if sodium is not an issue for you.
Serve with a big salad or you can even add some greens in your sauce if you love greens as much as I do. They will make your arteries sing!
Don’t fuss over this dish! It will be delicious in its simplicity and is difficult to ruin.
It is even better the next day leftover!
Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!