Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bring on the Brine

Ever heard of Spaghetti alla Puttanesca?  The story is that "ladies of the night" would throw together this quick dish and put it in or near windows to attract men with the fragrant smell.  I'm not sure if that's true or not, but it's a good story.

Pasta Puttanesca is something I heard about first from Rachael Ray.  She makes a simple version of this using canned tomatoes.  It is a pretty good version, but I wanted to step things up a bit.  I found some pretty grape tomatoes on sale, so I wanted to build my sauce around that.  This is a briny, spicy, fresh-tasting pasta dish that is truly easy to throw together and is so darn tasty!  And you don't have to be a "lady of the night" to make it.  

1/2 lb spaghetti
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 C green olives
1 C black olives
12 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 teaspoons red chili flakes (less if you're spicy challenged)
1/4 C capers
1/4 C Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 C brine from the green olives or capers
1 T anchovy paste
1 C chicken stock
1/2 C red wine
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Drizzle some olive oil into a skillet.  Add the onion and cook until tender.  Add in the tomatoes and the olives.  Using a wooden spoon, crush the tomatoes and olives.  Cook for a couple of minutes.  Add in the red wine and deglaze the pan. Add in the chicken stock, garlic, chili flakes, capers, anchovy paste, and brine.  Cook for a couple of minutes to thicken the sauce slightly.  Taste for salt and pepper, but you probably won't need salt since the olives and brine and capers are salty.  Add in the shrimp and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until shrimp is done.  Remove from heat and stir in the drained spaghetti, some Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley.


  1. I just love these tidbits of folk lore about food, Cindy. Now, I have to wonder whether it is so:)

    Your Pasta Puttanesca looks heavenly! Thank you so much for sharing...I'll be pinning this dish to my Pasta Board:)

    1. You're so welcome, Louise! I love knowing interesting things about recipes too. Hope you enjoy this one. It is truly one of our favorites!