Vermicelli Puttanesca

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Pasta ala Puttanesca translates to “pasta the way a whore would make it.” Now, before you take offense, I have to say that apparently ladies of the evening have very good taste, because I love pasta puttanesca. According to Wikipedia (which, by they way, is where I get practically all of my info from nowadays. How did I know anything before it?), there is some controversy over the name and how it originated. I had visions of prostitutes making this sauce in some big, old wooden bowl, and then peeing in a chamber pot and tossing slops out windows. That’s how old I thought it was, but no, it wasn’t even mentioned in print until the 1960’s!


This recipe comes from Eating Well , which I modified a little bit. What I really like about it is that it requires no cooking other than boiling water for the pasta. When you add the warm pasta to the sauce ingredients, it warms them just enough to keep it from tasting like a cold salad. Though, leftovers of this cold are wonderful too! If you look closely in the picture, you will see something that looks suspiciously like bacon. It is. I just so happened to have a few slices of bacon leftover from another recipe and went ahead and tossed them in. I mean, there is no reason not to, right? Kevin at Closet Cooking did a puttanesca earlier in May. His is a cooked sauce and he also shows it served over fish, which is genius!

Vermicelli Puttanesca
Serves 4

4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped, or one 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped (3 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
16 large black olives (packed in brine), pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons capers, finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound vermicelli or spaghettini
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine tomatoes, parsley, olives, capers, anchovies, oil, garlic and pepper in a large pasta serving bowl.
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
3. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the sauce. Toss well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

pasta presto night

This will be my entry for this weeks Pasta Presto Night from Ruth at Once Upon a Feast .

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  1. says

    Just like the pasta’s racy name (puttanesca),this dish is enjoyed by many and it’s very forgiving and a super way to clean out some fridge items.

  2. Pam says

    Peter – it’s perfect for cleaning out the fridge, isn’t it?

    Marjie – I know, I can’t wait to try it over fish. And yes, school is out!!!

    Kevin – You must have missed my link to your post. Putting it over fish was such a great idea.

    Noble – it’s worth a try. Speaking of your husband, I went that doctor yesterday…hopefully everythings cool and I’m done for a year.

  3. says

    Great dish, great post. Of course I may never get the visual of prostitutes in the window out of my head ;0

    Thanks for sharing with Presto pata Night.

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