Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Franny's Bucatini alla Puttanesca

It's been too long since I've posted a Franny's pasta recipe!

As the name suggests, this pasta dish involves bucatini. I had never heard of bucatini until I went to All'onda earlier this year. In case the photo didn't give it away, the pasta looks like spaghetti, but has a hole in the middle. It has grown to be one of my favorite types of pasta noodles.

According to the Franny's cookbook, ladies of the night made puttanesca after a long night, using whatever ingredients they had lying around. Funny, then, that to make this dish I had to go to an Italian specialty grocer in Carroll Gardens. I guess if I were going to make something with whatever ingredients I had sitting around the house, it would be quinoa with walnuts. I'll take the pasta over that any day!

There is a tiny bit of advanced prep required - which is soaking the salted capers in water for a few hours before you start cooking.


While cooking, I usually find something to snack on, including things such as a whole spicy sopressata sausage from Caputo's.

Thanks to Nathan and his new cookbook purchase, I think I have cooked more pasta at home in the past three months than I have in my whole life (refer to the above mention of quinoa and walnuts). Who can resist the charm of carbs and butter? Not me (sorry gluten free dairy free people).

Bucatini alla Puttanesca, recipe from Franny's: Simple Seasonal Italian  

Serves 4 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
9 anchovy fillets
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cups canned Italian cherry tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, drained
3 tbsp. salt-packed capers, soaked, rinsed, and drained*
1 pound bucatini
1/2 cup Nocellara or Cerignola olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
Kosher slat and freshly cracked black pepper

The salt-packed capers will require some soaking in advance. Place the 3 tbsp. of the capers in a bowl of water for at least three hours, changing the water every hour. Drain all the water out before using in this recipe.

I have been making this pasta in Nathan's kitchen, and due to size/age of the stove, it takes longer to boil water, so I start boiling the water before I make the sauce. If you have a fancy kitchen that heats water normally, then you can save this step for after you finish the sauce. In a large pot of well-salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until 2 minutes shy of al dente, then drain. 

In a large skillet (or dutch oven), warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown (yum!), about 1 minute. Add the butter, anchovies, chili flakes, and oregano and cook for 2 minutes, breaking up the anchovies with the back of a spoon until they dissolve.

Add the tomatoes and capers, and cook, breaking up the tomatoes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the oil has separated out and puddled on the sauce's surface, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Toss the bucatini into the skillet with the tomato mixture along with the olives and parsley. Cook over medium heat until the pasta is al dente, another 1-2 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water if the sauce seems dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta into serving bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil. This dish tastes great as a leftover for lunch the next day!

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