Monday, November 10, 2008

Double-teaming some good sauce

By my standards, a recipe is good if I make it more than once. So what does it mean when I make a recipe four times in a span of ten days?

Pure deliciousness. That's what it means.

The geniuses at Cheap Healthy Good got me hooked on this particular puttanesca sauce, which I then modified based on my own refrigerator supply. As with any homemade tomato sauce, it should be suitable to your own taste and kitchen inventory, so the following recipe is only a relaxed guideline.

Puttanesca, by the way, means something like "in the style of a whore." Well, this whore done me right. It's spicy, complex, and good with just about anything. Ergo, I give you not only the puttanesca recipe, but a week of delicious sauciness rationed into two impressive and long-lasting dishes. Of course, you could always spread the love: invite a bunch of friends for dinner and serve it over any pasta. I promise there will be no sloppy seconds left over.

Recipe: Puttanesca Sauce You Might Sell Your Dignity For
Serves 6 when used as a pasta sauce

2 T olive oil
1 small or half of a large onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 T Worcestershire sauce or 1.5 t chopped anchovies
1/4 C chopped olives
1.5 T capers, with a bit of brine
1.5 t crushed red pepper flakes, or 1/2 t ground cayenne pepper
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil (may also use one teaspoon of either basil or oregano, if you don't already have both of the herbs)

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and saute till translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Recipe: Wanton Baked Ziti
If you, too, live in a household of two people or fewer, I recommend making two small pans, baking one of them and freezing the other. One 13" x 9" pan serves 8, heartily.

1 lb dried ziti or penne rigate
3 cups puttanesca sauce, see recipe above
1/2 c grated Parmesan, divided
1 C ricotta or cottage cheese
1 C shredded mozzarella, divided

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta till al dente - tender but slightly firm. Drain and return to pot, off burner. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Stir in the puttanesca sauce, about half of the Parmesan, all of the ricotta or cottage cheese, and half the mozzarella. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a greased 13" x 9" baking dish, or divide into two smaller dishes (I've used pie pans, loaf pans -- anything, except maybe a cookie sheet, works as long as you keep an eye on it while it's baking). Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Then, use the remaining sauce to dip homemade calzones!

Recipe: Lascivious Spinach Calzones
Makes 3 calzones.
Trader Joe's sells pizza dough for 99 cents a pound. I would steer you toward a recipe for homemade, but it's not like Anthony Bourdain is critiquing this blog.

1.5 T olive oil
1 small onion, minced (optional)
1/2 lb fresh spinach (about two very large handfuls)
1 lb pizza dough (I used whole wheat, which turned out well)
1 C shredded mozzarella
1 beaten egg (optional)
remaining puttanesca sauce for dipping

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute till translucent. Add spinach and saute till wilted, stirring, just a few minutes. Remove from heat. Divide pizza dough into three fairly even sections. On floured surface, roll each section into a circle as flat as can be without causing holes. Spread a third of the spinach and onion mixture over half of each of the circles. Sprinkle each half with a third of the mozzarella, and salt and pepper to your taste. Fold over the dough in the other half of each circle, and squeeze together so that none of the filling escapes. You may want to water your hands to do this. Brush each calzone with egg if you desire. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until puffed up and just starting to brown. Reheat the puttanesca sauce and use it to dip the calzones.


Sara M. said...

mmm, puttanesca! i'm actually working on a puttanesca-inspired recipe for the pillsbury bake-off (my latest ambition). i always use anchovies, but worcestershire sauce is an inspired substitution!

Mike said...

mmm mmm! whorin' never tasted so good!

Anonymous said...

al dente...sounds like a good piece of ass to me!