Puttanesca

frog professor writing on chalkboard and he has with a mouthful of penne pasta

This recipe's contributor wants his grandchildren to call him Grandpa. Grandpa's puttanesca is his old standby for pasta dinners, and thankfully for us, he's got a knack for simple, clear teaching (see lecture snapshot above).

puttanesca penne with anchovy can

Ingredients

3/4 pound (12 oz.) Penne pasta
1 small-medium white onion
1 lemon
2-3 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons (25g) olive oil
28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
5 anchovies
1 cup (143 g) Kalamata olives, chopped
2 Tablespoons (16 g) vinegar-pickled capers
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 Tablespoon Kosher salt
to taste:
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

Serves 4


SAUCE

In a wide-bottomed saucepan (before heating), mash with a sturdy fork into a paste:
2-3 garlic cloves
5 anchovies (do not rinse)
2 Tablespoons (25g) olive oil
Heat the saucepan over medium heat until the paste sizzles, and immediately add:
1 small-medium white onion, diced
Stir frequently for 3-4 minutes, until the onions become translucent. While onions finish cooking, wash your hands, and open:
28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
One at a time over the saucepan, gently crush the tomatoes in your fist to create a chunky purée, and then pour in the can‘s liquid.
Stir in:
1 cup (143 g) Kalamata olives, chopped
2 Tablespoons (16 g) vinegar-pickled capers, drained
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
Keep the stove on medium heat until the sauce boils, then turn it all the way down to low.
*Do not cook tomatoes over high heat, they will lose flavor
Simmer the sauce, occasionally stirring and scraping the pan’s sides, until reduced to 1/2-1/3 the original volume.
[measure volume by dipping a wooden spoon straight down into the sauce, and lift it out to see how high up the sauce marks the spoon]
Reducing takes 30-60 minutes. Allot the last 15-20 minutes to prepare the pasta.


PASTA

Boil:
10 1/2 cups (84 oz.) water
Add and dissolve:
3/4 Tablespoon Kosher salt
Dump in:
3/4 pound (12 oz.) Penne pasta
Cook pasta to al dente (test its firmness by biting a noodle before the box’s recommended cooking duration). Drain the pasta.


ASSEMBLY

Find your preferred pasta:sauce ratio by first adding only half of the pasta to the sauce. Stir to coat and add more pasta if desired.
Chop in half:
1 lemon
Squeeze a small amount of lemon juice onto the pasta and stir well. Add enough to make the sauce taste bright and subtlety tangy. If you add too much, counteract the sourness with a sprinkle of white sugar.
Dish pasta in heated bowls, and sprinkle on:
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

 
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