Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nigella's Slutty Spaghetti

Pasta puttanesca is probably my favourite pasta dish. Loosely translated as 'prostitute's pasta', it is a punchy concoction of tomatoes, chilli, olives, anchovies, garlic and capers. Reasons for the intriguing name are various with many suggesting that it is the sort of dish made by slovenly people who can't be bothered to go to the market to buy fresh ingredients and rely on a storecupboard full of jars and tins instead. I prefer to think that the brazen, salty, firey flavours of the dish are akin to the character of the ladies of the night who used to frequent the backstreets of Naples (from where this recipe originates). Whatever the reason, I love it. Furthermore, I generally have all the ingredients required just ready and waiting in the storecupboard.

I've blogged about this dish before, having used Delia's recipe, but haven't actually cooked it for ages. I was reminded of it recently when flicking through the new Nigella book; Kitchen. True to form, the recipe is accompanied by an image of the Domestic Goddess herself wrapped in a silky crimson gown and comes with a suggestion that it should be eaten with an 'untipped cigarette clamped between crimson lips'. I'm not quite sure about the logistics of this (and didn't try), but the image brought a smile to my face.

As if by chance, the theme for this month's 'Forever Nigella' food blogging event is 'Ciao Italia'. Hosted by Sarah from Maison Cupcake, bloggers are challenged to celebrate Nigella's greatness by cooking a recipe from one of her books which falls in line with the monthly theme. Last month's chocolate-themed round-up was truly spectacular!

The assembled ingredients - storecupboard staples
So, last night I cooked up Nigella's version and can heartily recommend that you do the same. I was cooking for one so I adjusted a few things but rather greedily used a whole tin of tomatoes and almost finished the lot. I made a couple of very minor additions - a finely chopped shallot added at the start (simply because I found it, looking lonely, in the bottom of the veg box) and a little fresh basil stirred into the sauce at the end. Unnecessary but tasty. I'd probably just stick with the suggested parsley next time though - it is traditional and marries very well with the gutsy flavours of the sauce.

The recipe can be found on Nigella's site. Just click here for all the details.


Peter M said...

I remember seeing this episode and it hearing Nigella explain the origins of Puttanesca and...sluts.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I'm still working my way through Nigella Kitchen on catch up so I'm yet to discover the slutty explanation Peter refers to but I'm very famililar with puttanesca pasta, it's a wonderful sauce, one of my favourites.

Thanks joining in with Forever Nigella 3. Ciao!

bellini valli said...

Nigella does not seem to be on our station any longer. I miss her!

C said...

It looks fab - fairly simple yet very tasty! I must try a sauce like this, might have to skip the capers though, I just can't bring myself to like them!

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

I adore this but my family hate anchovies so I always have to make it for one. It's so worth it.