Not Momma's Puttanesca

By • September 4, 2013 • 2 Comments

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Author Notes: I've always loved the Puttanesca made by our local family run Italian restaurant, Filiberto's. Its amazingly rich and luscious, but Mamma (thats what everyone calls her) wont share her family recipe with anyone, not even the staff. So I set about a multi-year long journey to try and reproduce Momma's Puttanesca. I totally failed. But in the end I came up with something I like just as much. Its spicy, rich and packed with a ton of veggies.turbo

Serves 4

  • 4-6 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon chili flakes
  • 1 tin of anchovies in oil
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, all chopped up
  • 1 onion, sliced long and super thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped 1/2 inch
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 28oz can Cento Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 30 - 40 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 15-20 green olives, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 package whatever pasta you want
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Onion Slicing Note: slice the onions as absolutely thin as possible. Like translucent thin! If they are this thin, the onion will melt into the sauce as it cooks.
  2. Heat 3-5 tablespoons of good olive oil in big pan over Med-High
  3. Toss in chili flakes and anchovies. Fry for a bit, stirring with a spoon or silicone spatula until anchovies fully melt into oil. Be careful to not burn the chili flakes (icky). If you really like an anchovy taste in your Puttanesca add a teaspoon or two of the oil the anchovies came in.
  4. Add garlic and cook until just starts to turn color
  5. Add in bell pepper and onion and cook until onions start to turn translucent
  6. Turn heat down to Medium
  7. Add in olives, capers, mushrooms, and zucchini and cook for a bit to soften
  8. Add in crushed tomatoes and Italian seasoning
  9. Simmer sauce for 20 min over medium heat, or if you have the time, several hours over low heat until sauce reduces and is thick and saucy. Every now and then taste and add salt and/or sugar to season
  10. Vegetarian alternative: if you are vegetarian or just don't like anchovies, try this. Skip the anchovies and instead add a 1 inch rind of a parmesan cheese wedge at the same time you pour in the crushed tomatoes. Carefully pull rind out once sauce is finished cooking. The parmesan will add an amazing richness to the sauce!
  11. Vegan alternative: just don't add anchovies or parmesan. It won't be as rich, but you're probably used to that by now
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12 months ago Ham

My apologies in advance for butchering the recipe -- I omitted the zucchini, mushrooms, and red bell pepper to keep it more traditional and, regardless, the sauce turned out amazing. I simmered it on low for about four hours (adding water, adjusting the seasoning throughout, etc.) and served it with fresh tagliatelle. It was perfect. And approved by the native Italians at dinner! Thank you so much!!

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12 months ago turbo

Thanks for the awesome feedback! I'm so happy and honored that the recipe got the nod of approval from native Italians.