So you’ve just read the title to this post. I can actually hear a shocked gasp among my readers – you haven’t seen a savory recipe at The Sweetest Kitchen in a very long time! How strange! Well, I just want to prove to you that we do really eat foods other than cakes and cookies in this house. It’s just that I prefer blogging about the sweet foods!
Last week I picked up a new delicious. magazine; September 2010’s issue. There was a recipe inside for spaghetti puttanesca, which is a dish I’ve been wanting to make for the past few months. Since the recipe was now in one of my favorite magazines, I wrote down the ingredients list and immediately went out and stocked my pantry with semi-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and anchovy fillets. These ingredients aren’t something I’d normally keep in the pantry, but the rest of the ingredient list is normal for our pantry/refrigerator.
What took longest in making this dish was the preparation. The cooking was simply a breeze, couldn’t have been easier. The house smelled amazing while the sauce was cooking in the frying pan; I’m sure you could have smelled it from the street had you been standing outside. I’ve never, ever eaten anchovies (to my knowledge), so I was looking forward to trying this and wondering how they would taste.
And so was my 1-year-old son! He wouldn’t keep his hands out of the dish as I was trying to photograph it!
The textures and flavors are many in this dish. The flavor is tangy and salty and it’ll definitely wake up your mouth. The olives and semi-dried tomatoes add a variation of flavor and texture with each bite, and thyme-flavored ciabatta breadcrumbs add a subtle crunch. I know I haven’t been out much, but I can honestly tell you that this is one of the most flavorful dishes I’ve eaten in a very long time.
I would definitely recommend this if you love Italian food!
You’ll have 3/4’s of a loaf of ciabatta bread when you’re done making this dish. Ciabatta makes an excellent garlic bread, so why not use it to make your own to accompany your spaghetti puttanesca?
- ¼ olive or plain ciabatta loaf
- 100ml olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves, plus thyme sprigs to serve
- 1 large tomato
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Pinch of chilli flakes
- 12 anchovy fillets in oil, drained, roughly chopped
- 200g semi-dried tomatoes, halved
- 200g pitted kalamata olives
- 400g spaghetti
- Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with foil.
- Place the ciabatta in a food processor and whiz to form coarse crumbs. Spread the breadcrumbs onto the lined baking tray, drizzle with ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil, scatter with chopped thyme leaves and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp, then set aside.
- Meanwhile, cut a small cross in the base of the tomato. Plunge the tomato into boiling water for 30 seconds, then refresh immediately in iced water. Peel and halve the tomato, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Finely chop and set aside.
- Place the remaning 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened but not colored. Add the chopped tomato, garlic, chilli and anchovies and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes until the anchovies dissolve and the tomato has broken down. Add the semi-dried tomatoes and olives and stir for 1-2 minutes to warm through.
- Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain, then add the pasta to the sauce and toss well to combine.
- Divide the spaghetti and sauce among bowls, scatter with the breadcrumbs and thyme sprigs, then serve.