Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spaghetti Puttanesca

I'm not sure about the exact origin of spaghetti puttanesca, except that it's from Italy. But it feels Mediterranean to me, because the special ingredients are kalamata olives, capers, and anchovies - three ingredients I've eaten in excess in Italy, Spain and Greece.

I love these intense salty flavors in a tomato sauce.  I substituted anchovies with miso paste in this recipe.

1 lb dried whole wheat spaghetti
3 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 dried chili, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
2 tbsp capers
5-6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (or 1 big can)
1 tbsp sweet white miso paste
fresh parsley, chopped

1. Fill a big pot with water and turn the burner on high. This will be for the pasta later (you know how long big pots of water take to boil!).
2. Heat a large saucepan on medium low.
3. Add the olive oil and wait until it swirls in the pan.
4. Add the chili, thyme, salt and garlic and saute 1 minute until right before the garlic turns golden.
5. Add the tomatoes, olives, and capers and simmer for at least 20 minutes or as long as you want. I like to simmer mine on low for an hour or so sometimes.
6. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water during the last 10 minutes of sauce-simmering.
5. Just before serving, stir the miso paste into the sauce until it dissolves like butter.  The miso paste gives the dish a salty, nutty depth; thus it's an excellent parmesan or anchovy paste substitute.
6. Stir the parsley into the sauce.
7. Drain the cooked pasta, leaving a tiny bit of the pasta water to add to the sauce.
8. Toss the pasta in with the sauce and let it sit for a couple minutes to absorb the flavor.

You're done!

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