This is one of my favorites sauces to make, so quick and easy and yet so incredibly flavorful! The history of this sauce is very interesting, one that most people are not aware of:
“LADIES OF THE EVENING:
Puttanesca sauce, most often employed for pasta, originated in Naples. It is made from tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, onions, garlic, and herbs, usually oregano and parsley but sometimes also basil. It is an easy sauce, briefly cooked, and is very fragrant and spicy. Puttanesca translates as “in the style of the whore.” The name derives from the Italian word puttana which means whore. Puttana in turn arises from the Latin word putida which means stinking.
Now I’ll bet your wondering how this tasty dish became associated with such sordid content. As is often the case when sifting through culinary history, there are multiple explanations. The first interpretation is that the intense aroma, (harking back to the “stinking” Latin definition), would lure men from the street into the local house of ill repute. Thus, the Napolese harlots were characterized as the sirens of the culinary world. Three additional accounts all hinge on the fact that Puttanesca sauce is easy and quick to make. The first is that the prostitutes made it for themselves to keep the interruption of their business to a minimum. The second is that they made it for the men awaiting their turn at the brothel. And the final version is that it was a favorite of married women who wished to limit their time in the kitchen so that they may visit their paramour. ”
I prepared this recipe when I was fortunate to be compete (and win) Food Network’s “Ultimate Recipe Showdown”, hosted by Guy Fieri, a few years ago. However, my $25,000 winning recipe was Crawfish & Andouille Sausage Pizza. Instead of shrimp for this dish, I used lobster, but if you choose shrimp, add about 1 pound raw, peeled and deveined, shrimp in place of the raw lobster tail.
Yield:3 to 4 servings
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 pound lobster tails (either warm water or cold water)
10 to 12 kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed under cold water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small shallots, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup red Italian wine
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 pound Italian capellini pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat and season the water with salt.
Cut the lobster tails lengthwise, remove the meat from the shells and chop into 1-inch pieces. Pit and chop kalamata olives and rinse the capers. Set aside.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and heat through. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for an additional 30 seconds; do not brown the garlic. Add the tomatoes, wine, chicken stock, basil, parsley and anchovy paste. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the capellini to the boiling water. Cook about 5 minutes, or until al dente. Strain in a colander, do not rinse.
Stir the chopped lobster meat, capers, kalamata olives, butter, and pepper, to taste, to the tomato mixture. Cover the pan and simmer the sauce until the lobster meat is cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Place the cooked pasta in a large serving bowl, pour the sauce over the pasta and toss. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and the chopped parsley, if desired, and serve.