Pasta Puttanesca was in my cooking repertoire for years, but my friends JM's version is far superior. My admiration is without snark or sarcasm (although she may contribute some of each in the 'comments' section). The sauce clings to each piece of penne, slicking it with oil that is infused with garlic, tomato, and an unholy amount of anchovy. Although the recipe calls for way more anchovy than seems reasonable this sauce doesn't taste fishy - there is just flavor in every corner of your bowl thanks to those chovies. Briny olives and capers are tamed by the biggest surprise ingredient - lemon wedges squeezed into the sauce as it finishes cooking. When you're slurping down your Puttanesca, squeeze the last drops of lemon juice into your bowl to addd even more brightness to the sauce.
fillets anchovy in olive oil
plump garlic cloves, peeled and minced
dried marjoram (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)
Olive oil from anchovies + extra virgin olive oil to equal 1/2C
whole peeled tomatoes, drained and broken up into pieces by squeezing with your hands or chopping with a knife
briny olives, cut in ½ lengthwise
lemon (a Meyer lemon, if possible), cut into 8 wedges
In This Recipe
Add the anchovies, the olive oil from the anchovy jar and the extra virgin oil to a large skillet. Heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes, breaking up the anchovies with a spatula until they ‘melt’ into a paste. Avoid letting the anchovy bits crisp.
Add the garlic (and the pepper and marjoram if you’re using them) and cook for 5 more minutes. If the ingredients in the skillet start to brown, turn down the heat.
Add the tomatoes carefully to the skillet (the hot oil may splatter). Bring to a boil and then simmer the sauce for 20 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook the penne according to package directions
Add the olives and capers to the sauce. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Squeeze each lemon wedge and add it to the sauce, then simmer for another few minutes.
Drain the pasta and stir it into the sauce. Serve with grated parmesan at the table.