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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A New Take on Puttanesca

As you may have figured out by now, I love anything that has olives and capers in it.  I think it's that whole briney thing going on that really appeals to me.  I also love anchovies which, I know, puts me in the minority.

The other morning I was listening to the Today Show as I was cleaning up the kitchen.  Shea Gallante was on and was demonstrating a very tasty sounding recipe for fusilli with olives, capers, and tuna.  Needless to say, this sounded good to me.

I looked up the recipe online and set out to make it as written.  But then I started thinking, which, in the kitchen, can either be a very good thing or a very bad thing.  Why not play around with the recipe a little bit?

So, I made a few minor changes and the outcome was delicious.  The sauce was light and had the briney taste that I love.  The Italian tuna added a little "meatiness" in substance, which was also nice.  The tuna also added a slightly fishy taste, but not nearly so much as anchovies would.

I think my little experiment came out well.  Give it a try.

Recipe: Fusilli with Olives, Capers, and Tuna Pomodoro
(Adapted from Shea Gallante)


For the fusilli:

1 pound dried fusilli pasta
2 cups tomato sauce (see separate recipe below)
1/4 cup kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, washed, rinsed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes
2 cans high quality canned tuna, preferably Italian, packed in oil
1/4 cup olive oil, reserved from tuna
1/2 cup Parmigiano, grated
1 teaspoon butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce:

1 medium red onion, diced
1 fennel head (split in half)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-24 ounce can whole plum tomato
2 tablespoons sugar
2 basil sprigs
4 ounces olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


To make the tomato sauce:

Place the plum tomatoes in a food processor and blend until they are a rough chop consistency.
In a medium sauce pan, sweat the onion in olive oil for about 15 minutes until the moisture is cooked out completely.  Add the sugar, tomato, basil sprigs and fennel, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer on a very low heat for about an hour. Then remove the basil sprigs and fennel and set aside the sauce to cool.

To make the pasta:

 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, which takes approximately 10 to 14 minutes depending on the brand.

To make the pasta sauce:

In a medium sauce pan, lightly sweat the garlic in the olive oil. Add the olives, parsley, and chili flakes and cook for approximately three minutes. Add the tomato sauce, capers and tuna and cook for two minutes.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese and a teaspoon of butter and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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