There are many explanations that describe the origin of this dish. Puttanesca (literally means whore’s style spaghetti) is believed to have originated in the Campania region of Italy. In 2007, when we visited the ruins of Pompeii in Naples, our tour guide Marco from Perillo Tours explained to us the story behind the name of this dish. According to him, the ladies of the evening made it to lure the men into their house by attracting them with the aroma of the sauce. Other sources claim the ladies made it because it was easy and quick as they were always busy and had little time for cooking. Whatever the story, Puttanesca is a delicious and lively sauce that you can whip in no time. It’s best served over spaghetti. It is tasty but on the salty side.
28 oz. peeled tomatoes, chopped or crushed
1 cup meatless tomato sauce
6 oz. Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup capers, drained
2 can of whole anchovies in oil
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Red pepper flakes, optional
1 lb. of spaghetti
Preparation:1) Bring pasta water to a boil, add salt, and cook according to package directions. I like mine al dente (to the bite)
2) In the meanwhile, over medium heat, in medium-size saucepan, heat up olive oil, sautee the garlic for 1 minute, add olives, capers, anchovies, continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and pepper flakes. Bring to a quick boil, simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Serve it over spaghetti.Cook’s note: If pasta is done before the sauce, just drain it well and drizzle some olive oil on it to prevent clumping.If you love all these ingredients, you will savor this delicious meal. I recently made it with cod fish over polenta, and it came out scrumptious. Check out my blogpost: Baccala Mantecato to learn how to desalt the cod fish.
Wine Pairing Suggestions: Ideally, I recommend the red Lacryma Christi from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius in Campania, Italy. However, it can be challenging finding this varietal. My next suggestions would be a Primitivo from the Puglia region or a Nero N’Avola from Sicily. Whatever your choice, with or without wine, you will enjoy this punchy pasta (if you like all the ingredients). Buon Appetito!
Warning: This dish has a high sodium content
Disclosure: I did not get compensated for the products that I used
Recipe developed by: Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
Happy Cooking from my Kitchen to yours,
Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur
Culinary and Global Cuisines Aficionado
If you love pork chops but never had them in tomato sauce, you are in for a treat. I use the thin pork loin chops and a variety of tomatoes such as canned San Marzano whole, strained and chopped tomatoes, and a jar of my favorite meatless sauce.
Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Easy-Medium
Allow 2.5 hours from start to finish – This recipe can easily be divided in half but why would you want to do that when the leftovers taste even better!
4 lbs. pork loin chops, thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil + more if needed
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 -26.46 oz. container strained tomatoes (Pomi brand)
1 – 26.46 oz. container chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand)
1 – 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, whole, crushed by hand
1 jar of Mid’s meatless tomato sauce (32 oz) or any of your choice
Garlic powder to taste, optional
1.5 lb. spaghetti or any pasta shape of your choice
Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, grated or shaved
Flat-leave Italian parsley for garnish
1) Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large heavy- bottom pot, on medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Sear the pork chops about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove them. Add more oil if necessary. Do this in 2 batches. Set aside.
2) Add more oil to pot, saute’ the garlic. Add the tomato paste, stir until it’s nicely caramelized. Add all the tomatoes. Season the sauce with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Add the pork chops to the sauce, bring to a boil. Lower the flame, and simmer on low heat for about 1.5 -2 hours covered with lid-tilted. Stir occasionally to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The sauce will become very thick and rich in flavors. This dish tastes even better the next day.
3) While the sauce is simmering, bring water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
4) Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and pour some of the sauce over it. Mix well until every strand of pasta is covered with the sauce. Put it in a serving bowl. Arrange the pork chops on a platter. There will be plenty of sauce left for those who like extra sauce. Don’t forget the cheese and garnish with parsley. Your guests will be wowed by the richness of this dish, and will ask for seconds.
My wine pairing suggestions: I recommend a nice Chianti, Rosso or Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Of course, the choice is always yours.
Cook’s notes: 1) Use whatever brand of sauce you like. If you feel the sauce is too watery, uncover it toward the end to let it reduce.
Disclosure: I did not get monetary compensation for these products. Warning: There may be small bones in the sauce. Please let your guest or loved ones know.
Recipe developed by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover LLC
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover LLC
All rights reserved 2017
I have been making this chicken dish for years, and my family always devours it. Cacciatore, means hunter-style in Italian. You will need to allow a couple of hours from start to finish, as the sauce will have to simmer to obtain rich and deep flavors. Follow me in the kitchen, and let’s cook along, a hearty and satisfying meal.
Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Medium
5 lbs. whole chicken, cut up in eight pieces *
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. oregano
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 cup onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1.1/2 red bell pepper, cut in julienne
26 oz. chopped canned tomatoes
32 oz. prepared tomato sauce, of your choice (no meat)
1/4 cup water, if necessary
Pinch of sugar
Sprinkle of garlic powder
6 oz. portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. butter, to pan fry mushrooms
2 tbsp. olive oil to pan fry mushrooms
Parsley to garnish
1.1/2 lbs. spaghetti or pasta of your choice
1) Season chicken with salt, pepper, and oregano. In a large Dutch Oven, on medium-high heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, and brown the chicken 4 minutes on one side, and 2 minutes on other side. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TASTE, THE CHICKEN IS STILL RAW ON THE INSIDE. Set aside. Add 2 tbsp. oil, and repeat another batch.
2) Remove chicken and set aside. Keep the flame on, saute’ onions, garlic, deglaze with wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan. Put the chicken back, add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, if needed, sugar, salt and pepper, garlic powder. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
3) Uncover, add the bell peppers, stir, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
4) In the meanwhile, in a small frying pan, over medium high heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, and butter, saute’ the mushrooms until they are nice and brown. Add mushrooms to the chicken. Simmer another 30 minutes, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, and the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally.
5) While the chicken is simmering, boil the water for your pasta, according to package directions. Drain, and plate the dish as seen on my photo. Garnish with the parsley.
Tips: * if breasts are too big, cut them up in 2 each. Warning, sometimes, there may be small bones in the sauce. Please let your guests or loved ones know ahead of time.
Wine pairing: Any italian red table wine, such as a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Chianti, or Rosso. Keep it simple and inexpensive to complement the hunter’s style theme.
In my house, life is a combination of magic and pasta, as beautifully quoted by Federico Fellini.
I have many versions of pasta recipes in my repertoire, however this one is very special, because the origin is from beautiful Rome, one of my favorite cities in the world. I am happy to share with you Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Mirco di Trizio, an aspiring Roman chef, provided me with the main ingredients, the ratio and method of cooking. I put it all together and kitchen tested it. The result was this creamy pasta that screamed deliciousness in every bite.
Serves: 4 Degree of difficulty: Moderate
1 lb. of Spaghetti
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 lb. of pancetta, chopped (guanciale is preferred but hard to find in the US.)
Freshly ground pepper
4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated, Parmesan cheese (maybe more, if necessary)
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated, made from sheep’s milk
1/2 cup water room temperature, (for sauce)
1) In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, add freshly ground pepper and both cheeses. Mix well and set aside.
2) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste, and cook pasta according to package directions.
3) In the meanwhile, heat olive oil, over medium flame, and brown pancetta until crispy, stirring occasionally, This will take 8 – 10 minutes depending on your pan and the degree of heat. Deglaze with the water, bring to a quick boil, then turn the heat to the lowest setting. Leave it on the burner.
At this point, the pasta should be done, and it’s time to drain it. PUT IT BACK IN THE SAME POT. Get the assistance of someone for the next step, if you can. Bring the pot of pasta on your kitchen counter, (not on the hot stove) drop in the pancetta, mix it in. Next, comes the tricky part, get someone to slowly pour the egg mixture in the pasta while you gently stir it, AWAY from the heat. You should obtain a nice creamy texture. If you feel like it’s too watery, go ahead and add a little more cheese. Remove from the pot immediately to avoid the effect of scrambled eggs. (It would be edible, however, it is not the presentation, we are looking for.) Place in a serving bowl and serve while it’s piping hot.
The chef has complimented me on the dish but scolded me about the parsley as a garnish. Instead, he recommends using a melted Parmigiano, called Cialda di Parmigiano. An easy way to achieve this, is to melt some cheese in the microwave. You can bypass this step all together but wanted to give you some option for garnish.
I hope you will try this recipe in your kitchen. It may seem complicated but it’s simple if you follow my directions step by step. Wishing all of you a beautiful holiday season!
So in 2016 I turned 50. I was in Italy for my 21st, 30th and 40th. To keep this birthday tradition going I always knew I'd be in Italy for my 50! This blog starts with my 5 week adventure in Puglia but my love affair with Italy continues.....