Summer is winding down and I find myself in a mad dash to use every last summer tomato I can get my hands on. Which is absolutely why this spicy little pasta dish happened.
I whipped this up on the fly the other day, trying to use up all my baby tomatoes before they went bad. Normally I can’t keep tomatoes around due to all the “tomato snacking” that goes on in my house.
Pasta Puttanesca is one of my favorite pasta dishes. Onions, garlic, anchovy, a bell pepper from the garden along with a handful of chopped fresh summer herbs, salty capers and olives and last but not least, summer baby tomatoes. All nicely sautéed and warmed in my favorite extra virgin olive oil and then splashed with a hearty handful of fresh grated parmesan. For extra spice, I sneak in a few sliced pickled jalapeno.
Ahhh… food just doesn’t get any tastier.
I’m going to miss the sweet little red beauties when they’re gone. I rarely purchase them out of season and only when my family feels they need a cherry tomato fix. Hands down, fresh tomatoes taste best in summer. However, in the fall and winter months I use organic canned tomatoes. They’ve been canned at the peak of ripeness and infuse a sweet tomato flavor in the winter version of this dish.
During the winter months, I often fold in some cooked ground Italian sausage for a hearty one dish meal.
What I love most about Pasta Puttanesca is it’s many versions and interpretations swimming around recipe land. Many chefs and home chefs prepare cherished versions of this dish. It’s one of those lovely recipes that lends itself so beautifully to the variety of the season.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
Spicy Pasta Puttanesca with Loads of Fresh Herbs
Pair this lovely dish with my fave DaVinci Chianti
1 lb thin spaghetti or linguine, cooked according to package directions
1 small red onion, diced
1 small red, orange, purple or yellow bell pepper, thin sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon sliced pickled jalapeno (or more to taste) or a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes
1 heaping tablespoon of capers
Handful of assorted olives, sliced
Handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Handful of fresh basil, chiffonade sliced
1-2 sprigs oregano, leaves removed and finely diced
1 pint cherry or baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced
2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. I use California Olive Ranch Arbosana Olive oil
Squeeze of lemon
Handful of fresh grated parmesan cheese
Fresh cracked black pepper
You may or may not need any additional salt, so be sure to taste for seasoning
Prepare your pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the onion, peppers and anchovies until onions and peppers are soft. The anchovies will melt into the oil. This creates lovely, deep and rich flavors.
Next, stir in the garlic and sauté for one minute longer.
Turn the heat to medium low and stir in the jalapeno or crushed red pepper flakes, capers, olives and fresh herbs. Let the mixture heat and simmer for a few minutes, allowing all the delicious flavors to meld together.
Fold in the tomatoes, add a squeeze of lemon and then sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper and taste for salt. You may or may not need any additional salt due to the anchovy, capers and olives.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet of veggies tossing to coat. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and then pour the pasta onto a platter, ladling all the stray olives and tomatoes on top.
Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.