Week Eighteen – Birthday Season

There was no weigh in this week as I was visiting my children for my birthday. Perhaps it is just as well as we went to an excellent Cantonese restaurant which probably didn’t help any weight loss.

As it is Debbie’s birthday next weekend I am resigned to having gained when we are next weighed.

Last week Alex Rushmer was asking Twitter what their top five store cupboard ingredients were. This got me thinking about one of the best store cupboard dishes, spaghetti putanesca or whore’s spaghetti.

According to Wikipedia one of the theories about the name is that during the 1950s prostitution was state owned in Italy and the “civil servants” employed in the brothels were not free to go to the market for fresh ingredients everyday. Thus they came up with a dish made entirely of store cupboard ingredients.

Cooking this dish taught me the importance of “less is more” as a concept in cooking. When I first started making it I would add a whole tin of olives and lots of capers on the basis that, as I liked them, lots of them would only improve the dish. Having tuned it for the diet I realised that a little of everything is better.

1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
2 anchovy fillets chopped (if you are a veggie leave this out and add some salt instead)
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
Handful pitted black olives, diced (I have big hands but 8 -10 is about right which counts as 1 Slimming World “syn”)
Handful pitted green olives,diced
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed, dry fried until they open then chopped
1 tin of tomatoes or passata
Black pepper
Pasta and grated parmesan to serve

Gently fry the onion, garlic and anchovies until the onion is soft and the anchovies have dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the sauce is thick. I personally like to cook this for at least an hour because I believe it intensifies the flavours but you can get away with ten minutes at a push. Check the seasoning: be aware that the anchovies (and capers if you are using salted ones) will make it quite salty. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with parmesan.

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One Response to Week Eighteen – Birthday Season

  1. Alex says:

    Lovely recipe and a good stand-by. Thanks for the mention!

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