Thursday, 28 February 2008

Puttanesca Putapasta

I had the girls around again last night. And what with my parents arriving for a visit today, I had loads of clearing up to do (and there's one corner of my bedroom is stuffed with bags that I can't quite bring myself to unpack).

But I got home from work last night, looked around and decided to ignore the rest of the house, and make a dish for Presto Pasta Night instead! (After all, it is the 1 YEAR BIRTHDAY of Presto Pasta Night - the first blog event I ever participated in. Thanks to Ruth at Once Upon a Feast for her continued efforts and humour in hosting this event!) Anyway, I needed some food therapy, so decided to make the pasta from scratch. From the kneading of the dough, to the repetitive passes through the pasta machine, this was a task to calm my mind, and soothe my soul.

A piquant, spicy pasta sauce was also required - the comfort-food blandness of mac and cheese, mashed potato or chicken soup was just too insipid to tempt me - I wanted something to burn through the fug I've been wandering through for the last few days...

A puttanesca sauce was in order - and as one of the girls doesn't like olives (or too much spiciness!) I decided to make fresh olive and chili papperadelle to go with it.

Puttanesca Puta-pasta!

For the pasta:
  • 250g semolina flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 250g strong pasta flour
  • 18 kalamata olives - pitted
  • 1tsp ground red chillies - add more or less to taste!
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yolks

For the sauce:
  • 50g anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 700g ripe tomatoes - cut into quarters, deseeded and the hard core removed, then halved again (a tin of chopped would work just as well, and be much cheaper and quicker!)
  • 2 tbsp caper - rinsed/drained and roughly chopped
  • 75g kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
  • olive oil to fry
  • black pepper
  • handful fresh basil

First of all, to prepare the pasta. I went into more detail on how to make fresh pasta when I posted my Home-made roasted garlic pasta - I'll just put down the quick version here - please refer to my earlier post for details in rolling and cutting!

Blitz the olives with the dried red chili and one egg yolk until very finely chopped - but not quite a purée. You want to be able to see the flecks of olive in the finished dish!

I mixed this by in my food processor - put the flour, olive mix and eggs into a mixer with a dough blade on it, and pulse until well combined - the dough should be coming together into big chunks. If it feels sticky, add some more flour.

Turn out onto a work surface, and knead for 5 minutes until elastic and shiny. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for an hour or so.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce (and this is one of the easiest sauces in the world!).
Heat a glug of olive oil over a medium heat, then saute the chilies, garlic for 1 minute, and the chopped anchovies and cook for a further minute or two until they start to melt.

Now I confess - I've never cooked with anchovies before - I don't really like them... but I do like them in cooking - and it turns out them were wonderful in this sauce - not fishy at all. So if you don't like anchovies, don't be tempted to leave them out - they really make the dish!

So at this point the sauce was smelling very anchovesque - and I was contemplating takeaway options - just in case it all went wrong.

Add the tomatoes, capers and olives to the pan - I also added a splash of water to get it going. (I also removed one portion of the sauce before I added the olives so it didn't get contaminated ;)
Add a few grinds of black pepper - you shouldn't need salt - the anchovies/capers are salty enough!

Allow to simmer for 20 minutes or so - you can tell when it's ready, because the anchovy/fresh tomato smell is suddenly replaced by something that makes you want to eat it NOW!

Take the sauce off the heat, and set to one side until the pasta is ready.

Back to the pasta!

Remove the pasta from the fridge, divide into 4 balls, keep one out, and rewrap the others.
Following the instructions here, roll out and cut the pasta in 3/4 inch widths. One tip that I've picked up since writing that blog, is that once you have rolled the pasta to the desired thickness, you should leave it to dry slightly for 5 minutes or so before cutting (start rolling the next bit!). This definitely seemed to help with the cut pieces unrolling properly.

Cook the pasta in salted water for 1 to 2 minutes then drain thoroughly.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce, and throw in the handful of chopped basil. Mix well and serve!

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Ruth Daniels said...

Holy Moley!!! What an awesome dish. I can't wait to try it out. I know my daughter (the one with the pasta maker) will definitely want this one.

And thanks for continuing to be such a great part of Presto Pasta Nights.

Heather said...

Oh, you've made your own pasta, haven't you. My little girl's all grown up! I love putanesca so much and make it often. Yay on you.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I haven't made this for too long! Thanks for the reminder...

Bellini Valli said...

And she makes her own pasta too. You're my hero! I'm afraid that I just go to the the nearest Italian grocers and pick up what I need from a myriad of premade pastas. Kudos to YOU:D

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That sounds like a really awesome dish all the way from the fresh noodles through the flavorful sauce. I've never cooked with anchovies before, but thinking back, I've never had an achovy sauce I didn't like. I'll have to try this out!