Friday, 30 May 2014

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Whore's spaghetti.

There are plenty of stories as to how this rich tomatoey sauce got its name. The most recent version I heard was that it is so named because the Italian housewives could knock it up pronto as their husbands walked in the front door fresh from the fields while their lovers hot-footed it out the back door. Nothing to do with ladies of the night needing to keep their strength up, which was what I'd previously understood.

Since the excitement of Monday night, half term has been a fairly low key affair. The Husband had to go back to our camp site and recover the remains of our gear, Blue has gradually progressed from sitting on the sofa in his PJs watching TV and dribbling, to making paper aeroplanes, chucking them onto various hard to recover places, watching Minecraft videos on Youtube (who actually IS Stumpy Longhead???), and dribbling, and Pink has generally been very accomodating - biding her time, obviously. 

Food-wise, Blue has been on liquids. Smoothies and soup. I did make the tomato and potato soup that he started off with, but really, honestly, the thought of slaving over pots and pots of soup defeated me. I thought back to the time when he was on steroids and I was known to be up making meatballs at 7 a.m. because that's what he fancied, and gave in to common sense. 

Yes, part of me wanted to create beautiful smooth nutritious soups that would make him forget that he couldn't tuck into toad in the hole. It's a thing isn't it - providing food is such a basic act for the people you love, especially when they are ill or hurt and there is little else practically you can do. It certainly is for me, and I've written about this in the context of his leukaemia. But this time - well, I didn't as someone suggested, liquidise 'MaccyDs' (shudder), but as part of the camping gear recovery trip, the Husband made a trip to the supermarket and came back with various tins. And I'm fine with that. 

So he's been eating tinned soup for the last few days, and feeling pretty sore about it. Not sore that I haven't lovingly cooked up delicious broths for him, but sore that he can't eat proper food. 10 year old boys do not thrive well on soup and smoothies, but I didn't want to push him into trying something a little more solid until he wanted to. The breakthrough came last night as he sat with his lentil & bacon soup (which we'd had to liquidise) and we chomped through toad in the hole. "Tomorrow, can I just have what you have but liquidised?" he asked.

So whore's pasta it is, although I won't tell the kids that's what it translates as. I got the recipe from a wonderful chef who lead a pasta making course I went on recently. Of course we didn't just learn how to make pasta, but various sauces and pasta fillings, and this was one of them. It was also she who relayed the story above about how it got its name. She had plenty of other stories too, having cooked in private homes in LA for the last 25 years - but she swore us all to secrecy... I've been dying to cook up one of the sauces I learned, but just haven't got round to it - partly due to the fact that I haven't actually got a pasta machine, so the dough I came home with is sitting in the freezer just waiting. My intention has been to produce the whole caboodle - fresh pasta, glorious sauce - and bask in the glow of achievement...

Still, dried pasta is perfectly acceptable (after all it's what I normally serve up), so tonight's the night. 

Full of flavour, I hope it tastes as nice liquidised as it does in 'whole' form - I'll leave that to Blue to assess.

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

serves 4

2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets, wipe of salt and roughly chopped
1 tbsp of capers with juice
100g pitted black olives, roughly chopped
2 tins peeled plum tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large frying pan then gently cook the garlic for a couple of minutes taking care not to let it burn.

Add the anchovies, capers, and olives, cook for a minute or so more, then add the tomatoes, crushing them in your hands as you go. Use a little water to swill out the tins into the pan, then simmer till rich and thickened.

Serve with spaghetti and plenty of parmesan.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I LOVE comments - please leave one. Unfortunately, I have been getting hideous amounts of SPAM so please can you do the word verification thingy?