Pasta Puttanesca


1 sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
3-4 sardine fillets, packed in oil, not salted
1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes (or other whole tomatoes in sauce, but really, San Marzano’s the best)1 28oz can tomato sauce
4 oz sliced black olives
4 oz capers and their brine
1 tsp Cayenne (at least! I added lots)
1 glug red wine (I dunno, 1/4 cup? You know a glug when you do it.)
2-ish tablespoons chopped basil (I used two good branches of my cute boxwood basil)

Finely dice the onion and saute until the edges begin to color. Finely dice the garlic and add it, along with the sardine fillets*. Break up the sardines as you saute the garlic, and when it breaks into tiny pieces, add the tomatoes and sauce. Let it cook for a minute, smashing the tomatoes a bit, then add the olives, capers, cayenne, and wine. Let simmer for at least 10 minutes while you cook the pasta. Right before serving, add the basil. Don’t you *dare* skimp on the sauce when you serve it!

I am so amazed at how freaking good this ended up being. Like, I assumed it’d be a typical tomato sauce, but it is so much more. SO. MUCH. MORE. I don’t know why, but the combination of the sardines, capers, and Cayenne is just perfect together. Puttanesca means whore in Italian, and the story is that the sauce got its name because it’s hot, quick, and easy, but either way, it’s an excellent meal, fairly light if you don’t eat a pound of it, and the sauce reheats well, too. Next time, I would definitely add more olives, but I know this is going to become one of my regular recipes.

*Traditionally, puttanesca uses anchovies, but I wasn’t paying any attention when I picked up my groceries because I was tired after finals, but I don’t think it suffered from the fish mix-up.


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