I am joining the chorus today and singing the praises of a well-stocked pantry. I always keep on hand diced tomatoes and anchovies, which are convenient for whenever I feel like throwing a twenty-minute pasta dish like a pasta puttanesca. This salty, briny, spicy pasta sauce is one of our favorites. To bring it to weekend ‘woo food’ levels, I added shrimp and used squid ink linguine I purchased at the monthly ‘Mercado Urbano’ in the Condado area of San Juan. The ‘Mercado Urbano’ is a very cool open air market for local farmers and artisanal food producers, sponsored by Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce; it’s usually held on the first Sundays of the month.
My version of shrimp puttanesca sauce omits the olives (I go caper-crazy) but feel free to add them if you’d like after mixing in the tomatoes. I’m a purist and didn’t add cheese, but DH grated copious amounts of Parmesan into his dish and I’ve learned to ignore it.
Serves 2, with generous seconds.
- 1 2 oz. can of anchovy filets in olive oil
- From 1 pinch to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on heat preference)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 medium onion, chopped in 1″ pieces (larger/chunkier – I think it plays well with the size of the diced tomatoes)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
In a large sauteé pan, over medium heat, empty the entire contents of the anchovy filets can. Add the red pepper flakes and oregano and bring up to temperature, adding a litlte bit more olive oil if you need/like. When the mixture is fragrant and the pan is hot, sautee the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are soft and the garlic fragrant.
- 1 14oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
- Black pepper, to taste
Add the tomatoes and the capers to the sauce base, breaking up the tomatoes. Season the sauce with salt and black pepper to taste. Allow the sauce to simmer for ten minutes – a great window to start cooking the pasta.
The Lagniappe (la ñapa – a little something extra)
- 12-15 raw shrimp (peeled, deveined and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper)
Stir the shrimp into the sauce until cooked. Make sure they do not close up completely; if they curl into a full circle they are probably overcooked. Grilling the shrimp and serving on the side would be a great option too, but I like that they add to the seafood-y feel of the dish.