I’d never made puttanesca before but it’s one of my favorite pastas. Astonishingly I wasn’t able to find a recipe in either Marcella Hazan or Ruth Rogers, so I went online and found this recipe in Diner’s Journal (uncredited).
You start by sauteing anchovies and smashed garlic for quite a while in plenty of olive oil. The anchovies dissolve almost immediately, creating a sort of brown sludge in which the crushed tomatoes, black pepper and salt (not too much salt!) will bubble for another 10-20 minutes. (This initial phase unexpectedly reminded me of Thai cuisine, which often combines garlic with fish sauce or shrimp paste.)
Now, make the pasta. (Your pasta water has already been boiling, right?) At the same time, add olives, capers and crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce and simmer for the last 10 minutes or so. This is why you have to be careful with the salt – the anchovies, olives and capers may well add enough salt on their own.
I garnished with fresh parsley and served with a salad of butter lettuce, hyssop and summer savory from the garden. This pasta is incredibly delicious and more-ish. Easy to make and easy to consume. It’s described as a winter dish by the Times, but it has summer written all over it for me.