Friday, August 2, 2013

An abundance of cherry tomatoes--Puttanesca!

When the cherry tomatoes first start ripening in mid-July, they are a great treat, and are mostly eaten directly in the garden.  At this point in August, they've reached the stage of abundance at which I turn to recipes to try to keep up with them.  I had Spaghetti alla Puttanesca in an Italian restaurant earlier in the week, which gave me the idea to make it at home.  I used a recipe that called for canned tomatoes, but substituted fresh cherry tomatoes.  Delicious!  I also have fond associations with this dish as something my mother made later in life, after decades of making her regular, excellent, spaghetti sauce with meatballs (recipe from Mrs. Vilano, our neighbor 60 years ago).  My mother was a great cook, but tended to stick pretty close to her repertoire.  It was a bit of a thrill to have her serve something else!

adapted from 365 Ways to Cook Pasta, by Marie Simmons

1 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained (or 28 oz. of cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters)
1/2 c. pitted, chopped Kalamata olives
2 T. small capers, rinsed
1/2 t. crushed dried red pepper (recipe called for 1 t., but I found 1/2 t. to be enough)
1/2 t. dried oregano
pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided in half
1 2-oz can anchovies, drained, blotted dry, & cut into small pieces
1 lb. spaghetti

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and sauté over low heat about 1 minute; do not brown.  Stir in tomatoes with their juice, olives, capers, crushed red pepper, oregano, black pepper and 2  T. of the parsley.   Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes.  Stir in anchovies and other 2 T. of parsley; simmer 2 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente; drain.  Toss with the sauce.

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