Deconstructed Puttanesca Pasta

We were recently introduced to O&CO. (Oliviers & Company), a wonderful online food merchant specializing in Mediterranean products ranging from high quality olive oils, vinegars, preserves and spreads to organic bath and skincare products. We received samples of their Basil Specialty Olive Oil, Lemon Specialty Olive Oil, and White Balsamic with Oregano. The basil oil was begging to be opened and since O&CO. currently has a Mediterranean recipe contest, it seemed the perfect opportunity to conjer up  an assertive and fragrant dish. 

Traditionally, Puttanesca sauce is an aromatic tomato sauce known as “whore’s pasta” because it is quick and easy! We sometimes refer to it as “pungent pasta” because it has a strong aroma and bold earthy flavors. But, broken down to its basic elements it is a very flavorful and hearty condiment. This is less a sauce and more a saute of  ingredients in olive oil that coats the pasta in Italian goodness!

  • ¼+ cup O&CO. Basil Specialty Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 anchovy filets, minced
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup Kalamata black olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons “Denise’s Peppers” 
  • (or 1 small red chili pepper, chopped)
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Salt
  • 1 lb. spaghetti (homemade)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Heat basil oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and anchovies and sauté for 30 or so seconds. Add sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, and red peppers, wine and season taste with salt. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes more until liquid is reduced and the flavors have melded. Cover and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 10-12 minutes. Drain in colander, and then add to pan sauce, tossing until well mixed. Serve the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Take a minute to take in the aroma (especially basil!) of this amazing dish!