Roberta says: “Puttana is the Italian word for prostitute and I love the story of how this dish was named. Most respectable Italian women used to (and some indeed still do) shop for fresh ingredients every day. But not the busy working girls of Naples, who worked a 6½ day week. They had no time to visit the fresh food markets, so had to make do with a quick but tasty pasta sauce made from pantry staples such as canned tomatoes, preserved anchovies, capers and olives.”
Rigatoni Puttanesca – Roberta Muir
Serves 4 as an entrée
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
Salt flakes, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets
Pinch dried chilli flakes
500g Italian canned tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons capers in brine, rinsed
20 small black olives
⅓ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a saucepan and add the onions and a good pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in garlic, anchovies and chilli and cook for another minute or so until well combined.
Add tomatoes, crushing well with a wooden spoon to break them up, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, add capers and olives, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, while the pasta cooks.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just al dente. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water, and toss through the sauce, adding a little of the reserved water if it’s too dry.
Serve topped with parmesan cheese
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
I was fortunate to meet Roberta Muir when she visited Cape Town some years ago. Roberta Muir has managed Sydney Seafood School, Australia’s largest recreational cooking school, since 1997. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Gastronomy from the University of Adelaide and is a qualified cheese judge. She is the author of the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook (Penguin/Lantern, 2012) and 500 Cheeses (Quintet, 2010) and co-author of A Lombardian Cookbook with chef Alessandro Pavoni (Penguin/Lantern, 2015) and A Sardinian Cookbook with chef Giovanni Pilu (Penguin/Lantern, 2012). She also assisted chef Janni Kyritsis with his cookbook Wild Weed Pie (Penguin/Lantern, 2006). Her passion for food, wine and foreign cultures has led her on adventures in Europe, Africa, Turkey, North America and South East and Central Asia. In her spare time, she reviews restaurants, writes freelance food, wine and travel articles, is a keen cook and an enthusiastic diner. She lives in Sydney with her husband, musician, photographer and fellow foodie, Franz Scheurer.
Do visit Roberta’s website and subscribe to Roberta’s newsletter. Click here.