Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pasta is your Friend - Take 1

On Sunday night, D and I had our lone Thai friend Nong (aka our real estate agent) over for dinner. During our house hunting, Nong had asked me if I would show her some cooking tips, once she found out that I like to cook. I wasn’t 100% sure of what to make, since she wanted some more Western-type dishes. I remembered when I had lunch with her on our move-in day, we had talked about what kind of food she liked or didn’t like. She said she didn’t eat beef and didn’t like Mexican food (carne asada went out the window!), but was open to other things. She claimed that she wasn’t such a good cook. I finally settled on making Pasta Puttanseca, since it tastes like you’ve spent hours on it, but it only takes like 20 minutes to make. D also pointed out that there are lots of Italian restaurants here, so the chances were good she would probably like it. I had the beginnings of some Italian bread in the fridge, so the menu shaped up nicely to include the bread and a big salad. Fast forward to D and I arriving home from the grocery store 15 minutes before Nong was due to arrive. I shaped up the loaves of bread, while D prepared a pupu platter of cheese and salami. Luckily, Nong ended up being late, so we had time to get the bread in the oven and make the salad. All in all, it was a nice evening and the pasta was salty, spicy and delicious!

Pasta Puttanesca adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe
makes an excellent “I’m tired” weeknight dinner

1 pound dried pasta (I used spaghetti, penne is also really good)
1-2 tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped in half
6 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes (add more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 14 oz cans chopped tomatoes
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water. Meanwhile, fry the garlic, chilies, anchovies, and oregano in the olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the capers and olives and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Toss the pasta and sauce together, sprinkle the basil over top. Enjoy!

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