Have you ever made Puttanesca Sauce? It’s so rich and full of robust flavor. It’s a great way to use up all your garden tomatoes and freeze sauce for the winter.
Brisk fall days encourage me to pick up my pace. I find myself underdressed for the conditions – perhaps in a denial of summer’s end – my walk home from work now requires a jacket.It’s that same chilly weather that makes savory puttanesca sauce truly delicious. And it’s a great way to use up a bounty of cherry tomatoes. Mine haven’t seemed to slow with the cooler temps. Every other day I gather another pint or two.
Puttanesca is super simple to make. Its origin comes with some controversy. The etymology of the word suggests a relation to prostitutes. There’s an interesting myth that Italian prostitutes used to cook this sauce to lure in clients. But looking beyond that nonsense, I found an article citing many plausible explanations for it’s invention. Including one anecdote that suggests it was by mere accident – a night when no other ingredients were in stock – they essentially threw all the crap (puttanata) together and voila – puttanesca. I’d like this to happen every night in my kitchen with equally delicious results. It’s a hearty sauce to come home to on a chilly eve.
The recipe requires slicing of a lot of cherry tomatoes. One of the best kitchen hacks I’ve seen besides scooping a mango out of it’s skin with a pint glass, is the tomato slicing trick. Take two identical plastic lids. The kind you get at the grocery store deli with macaroni salad, etc. They need to have a little lip. Place a single layer of tomatoes on top of one lid (lip up to hold them in place). The other lid goes lip down, right on top of the tomatoes. Place your palm on top and press gently to hold everything in place. Take a large, sharp knife and slice in the space between the two lids – it’s magic, all the tomatoes will be cut in half.
This is a one pot all-in-the-oven-together kind of sauce. Easy!
The result is a scrumptious savory sauce that works well tossed with pasta, mixed with shrimp or on top of fish. Extra sauce can be frozen and added to soups and stews all winter long.
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 4 cups)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped Kalamata olives
- ¼ cup capers
- 1 anchovy fillet, mashed with a fork into a paste
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (I use thyme or oregano)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine all the ingredients except for the parsley and lemon zest in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or other large oven safe dish. Toss well.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are caramelized. You can help it along by smashing them a bit with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher.
- Toss with cooked pasta or sautéed shrimp.
- Finish with fresh parsley and some lemon zest.