Monday, January 10, 2011

Pasta Puttanesca - Anchovy, my New Friend

We've made pasta puttanesca a few times recently with great success.  I am not generally a big fan of the anchovy, but I have come to realize that it is truly essential for a good puttanesca sauce.  Previously my inclination had been to omit them, which was clearly a mistake.  And it's not that they give the sauce a particularly fishy flavor, but they add a huge amount of richness to the sauce, which softens the acid in the tomatoes.  I find this to be particularly true if you are using canned tomatoes, which, at this time of year, who isn't?  This whole anchovy thing is probably obvious to most cooks, but was a real ah ha moment for me.  
As far as recipes go, the first one we tried was from a great new book called The Geometry of Pasta, by Caz Hildebrand & Jacob Kenedy, which pairs together sauces with their appropriate shape of pasta. This was another Ah Ha Moment for me too, because we actually made both pappardelle and fusilli, and the same batch of sauce tasted MUCH better on the Pappardelle.  Who knew these things mattered?  However, if you don't feel like running out and buying a new book, we have also had success with a recipe we found on Epicurious.

Here are some pictures I took during our last Puttanesca prep.

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