Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pasta Puttanesca

With Valentine's Day on Saturday, many of us are planning a romantic meal. MD and I have come to prefer a quiet meal at home after finding that many area restaurants offer a restricted menu on Valentine's that is not veg-friendly. Not to worry, we relish the thought of staying home to enjoy an amazing bottle of red wine (at half the price as restaurant rates), delicious vegan food to order, and perhaps a romantic comedy dvd to boot.

For some reason, when I think romantic food, I think pasta. Could it have something to do with childhood memories of that spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp? Do y'all remember how cute that was?

Or maybe it's just because pasta is so cozy and can be quite simple. On a special occasion such as Valentine's, no one wants to slave in the kitchen for hours, you know.

Which brings us to this amazing Pasta Puttanesca. There are various opinions on why this sauce is associated with prostitutes. One proposes that the ingredients rely on pantry items for a quick sauce. While the origin of the name might be debated, the flavor is salty, spunky, and bold. A quick sauce with a lot of attitude. Perfect, in my opinion, for a romantic dinner when you want to spend more time with your honey than you do with the stove.

Pasta Puttanesca
about 4 servings

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/3 cup green olives, sliced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup crushed tomatoes
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley, to garnish
vegan Parm, to garnish, optional
8 ounces pasta, such as whole wheat red pepper spaghetti

In a large skillet or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and red pepper and saute about 1 minute. Add capers, black olives, green olives, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Prepare your pasta while simmering. Garnish each serving with fresh parsley and vegan parm.


  1. Mmm! Sounds great! Even though my husband isn't a tomato sauce fan, I think he'd go for this because of the olives and capers.
    And thanks for posting the cute video. I remember that scene from Lady and the Tramp well. :)

  2. That plate is gorgeous! Seriously, that photo is cookbook worthy. Thank you for this recipe, I'm always looking for new ways to make pasta, and I loooove olives and capers.

  3. Pasta is very romantic. It's Italian, no?

  4. pasta puttanesca is one of my favorites! Great pick for V-day!

    (P.S. We prefer to stay in, too -- don't want to brave the crowds!)

  5. My boyfriend and I have been having the same problem! We wanted to go somewhere nice, and EVERYONE is having a stupid pretentious set menu! There's one place that's including a vegan option with each course, but it's like $80 a person. We don't have that kind of money...so we're opting for a casual place instead. Dinner at home would be nice, but we're traveling out of town for V-Day so that's not possible.

    Thanks for the puttanesca recipe. It looks delicious and I love anything with kalamata olives and capers!

  6. You know it wasn't the pasta that put Lady and the Tramp in the mood for a kiss ... it was the mandolin playing!


  7. Yay for one of my favorite sauces! Olives really help temper the sweetness of the sauce. Have a great Valentine's Day! :)

  8. i have such a huge smile on my face right now....
    i think i am going to make spaghetti and watch lady and the tramp....too good...

  9. you've got me craving pasta now, Lisa! ahahahahaa! i love it! your puttanesca = glorious! i've never had pasta puttanesca, and i'm not sure why i haven't yet. totally going to have to make this! mmmmmmmmmmm!

  10. That looks so good! Sadly my boyfriend hates olives, so there is no romantic puttanesca in my future . . .

  11. One of my all-time favorite types of pasta--sounds just delish. And I love that scene in Lady and the Tramp!

  12. Hope you have a great Valentines Day! The sauce sounds delicious, with all the olives and capers - the different explanations for the origin of the Puttanesca name are pretty interesting.

  13. Aww, thank you for the video! That scene is so cute, especially when he gives her the last meatball.

    I love the redness of this sauce, and the contrast with the bright green parsley on top.

    Silly romantic comedies on Valentine's Day are a must! One of my favorite ones is Music and Lyrics with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant. It's fairly new, but I love all the 80s references - and the soundtrack!

    Happy Valentine's Day, Lisa!! :)

  14. Puttanesca is my favorite pasta sauce! So good! Yours looks amazing!

  15. I love that scene from Lady & the Tramp. I'm not a big Disney fan, at all, really, but I do want to get that film for Guppy because I have fond memories of it.
    That pasta looks plenty romantic to me!


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