So Saturday night my congenital indecisiveness got the best of me, leading me to make a ridiculous amount of pasta. See, the idea of making pasta alla puttanesca had gotten lodged in my brain, (probably triggered by an unwitting reference to A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning, a charming book which features the puttanesca in a subplot). Sadly, several of our dinner guests expressed an aversion to olives, which feature prominently and irreplaceably in the puttanesca. I suppose I could have just chosen a different dish. One of our guests, however, had expressed a love of olives, and this guest, for multitudinous reasons, particularly deserved a very special meal. In conjuction with my own strange compulsion to attempt the puttanesca, this left the matter completely out of my hands. Two pastas it would simply have to be.
Pasta alla Puttanesca: (heavily adapted from Wikipedia, which will reveal the meaning of this dish's slightly scandalous title) :
3 cloves garlic
6 anchovy fillets
1 tiny jar (around 1/4 cup?) capers, rinsed
1/2 cup good green olives (like, from the deli, not a can)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
2 15oz. cans diced stewed tomatoes
Heat some oil. Sautee the garlic and anchovies until the little fishies dissolve into stinky nothingness. Toss in the capers and olives. Since I really don't know what the heat is accomplishing at this point, throw in the tomatoes, too. Heat it all until it's hot. (This isn't a particularly tricky dish). Oh, and hopefully you threw in some entertainingly-shaped pasta before you started with the sauce. Otherwise you'll be eating this on bread, which is also seriously delicious, I promise.
Sidenote: I never understood the whole anchovy thing until this dish. And... wow. It's seriously just cheating. If you didn't already know what they were, you'd never know they were there. You'd just wonder "huh, it tastes like someone is kicking me in the mouth with a boot made of pure deliciousness".
Pasta Arrabiata (this one's all me)
1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 green pepper, halved and sliced into 1/4" strips
1 sweet onion, halved and sliced in 1/4" strips
4 cloves garlic, brutalized
2 15oz. cans diced stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. red pepper flake
grated parmesan to impress the ladies
Brown the sausage. Chop up your pepper and onions while that's happening. That whole 1/4" thing? Yeah, do whatever you want with that. It's seriously not going to matter. Short of tossing the pepper and onion into the pan entire, you're not likely to mess this step up. Set the sausage aside when it's cooked through, leaving as much delicious sausage grease in the pan as possible. Sautee your onions and pepper in the delicious sausage grease. And by sautee, I expect to see some browning on those veggies. Feel free to burn 'em a bit, if need be. We're looking for Torquemada here. Good. Now toss in the garlic. Toss it all around for just a minute or so and add the tomatoes and red pepper. I actually didn't have red pepper flake on hand, but powdered cayenne worked pretty well, too. It's all a matter of taste, people. Let that heat up and simmer for just a few minutes and you're ready to serve. Again, assuming you started a pot of pasta about 20 minutes ago. Yeah, I'm not going to get nominated to write any cookbooks anytime soon. And throw some grated parmesan on top. We're all about gilding the lily around here.
And after all of that, our friend A. made pie. This post really belongs in the "Are Ya Serious?" category. Yeah, she's serious. How serious? This serious:
Yeah. Life's not all bad 'round here. 'Specially not on Saturday nights.