Thursday 8 July 2010

Putting on the Pasta Puttanesca

( The back streets of Naples)

Jerry Hall apparently once said the following 'My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom'. Hmm, considering the fact that her ex, Mick Jagger, is now rolling his stones elsewhere, perhaps she should have ignored her Texan mother's advice and listened to the women of Naples instead. And been a tart in the kitchen...
The way I was last night, when I presented my husband with steaming bowls of spicy Pasta Puttanesca. In plain English; the whore's pasta. Legend has it that once upon a time in Naples, this robust pasta dish was made by the 'ladies of easy virtue'. The ingredients were always at hand, it was quick enough to make in between seeing clients, and substantial enough to share with a favoured 'gentleman caller'. It's a saucy pasta with a saucy name. Enjoyed with a good, (or even a mediocre) bottle of red, this is the sort of pasta dish you prepare when you really, really have something better to do...

My cobbled together version for 4 people or 2 greedy ones:

A few glugs of olive oil.
Finely chopped fresh garlic (as much as you like, I tend to overdo it, which is also ok)
Finely chopped chili (don't be afraid of chili, there are enough other flavours to balance it, and it really warms the mouth rather than burns it)
Simmer in a pot (but don't burn the garlic, as it becomes bitter)
Add 2 cans of tomatoes and allow to simmer for about 15 more minutes
Then chop up 10 anchovies (or a few more if you like a more pungent taste) and add to the sauce.
Lastly add a handful of capers
And about 2 handfuls of pitted black olives
Simmer for a couple of minutes
Serve with pasta of your choice. I like penne. Some say serve with parsley, but I'm not partial to parsley, so I leave it out.

Bad girls in the kitchen get to do as they like.

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