When I was little, I was terrified of anchovies: not in the have bad dreams at night won't open the pantry if we have them in there terrified way, but more like the mom I won't eat that dish if there is one speck of anchovy taste in that get those things away from me. I'd like to think that my taste buds have matured at least in some ways, I applaud myself for now eating melted cheese and scarfing down egg whites while in Honduras. So, I thought, why not anchovies?
I've always heard that the anchovies break down upon cooking and leave every dish they grace with a wonderfully salty and rich flavor, though I thought this was too good to be true. Putting my reservations aside though, when I was thinking of what to make for dinner a few nights ago I thought to myself...we have capers, mom just bought olives, why not puttanesca?? Let's just say I'm so glad I chose this specific dish. Taking only about 15 minutes total to make (including cooking the pasta) it's a speedy dish. I mean, no wonder it's know in Italy as the pasta of the "ladies of the night" due to it's spiciness, quick cooking, and how cheap it is. Although we simply refer to it in our house now as slut pasta...it's so worth it though.
1 pound al dente spaghetti
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives (or a mix with green)
2 tbs. capers, strained
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup chopped basil
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in the oil until the anchovies have broken down and the garlic is lightly golden- about 3 minutes.
Then, add the crushed tomatoes along with the capers and olives, stirring to combine. Throw in a pinch of sugar. With tongs, toss the pasta into the skillet and garnish with fresh basil.