Monthly Archives: April 2011

Puttanesca Please!

So most of you know that my hubby and I have spent the past three years knee deep in the construction and finishing of our home here in the Ozarks.  So needless to say, I have fairly extensive ‘go to’ list for last minute meals.  Pasta is such a quick and easy comfort food after a long day of slinging a hammer or rolling paint and this is why it tops my list.   I have a really hard time throwing an unadulterated jar of pasta sauce over noodles and calling it a meal–which is why I never do!  I have a long list of alterations that will make a quick and easy meal taste like a gourmet treat!   Puttanesca is one of the the dishes that make a pretty regular appearance on the dinner menu at 488.  The sauce has such a nice salty/briny flavor with a hint of sweetness to round it off perfectly on the palate.  I usually start the sauce and then head straight to the shower to get the paint out of my hair!  This gives the sauce about 20-30 minutes to thicken up nicely and let the flavors really come through–the longer you leave it over a low flame, the better it becomes!!!  Serve this with a small green salad, a big chunk of toasted french bread, and a full-bodied red wine or an ice cold pilsner.  This pasta gets even better overnight so you can enjoy a nice big bowl the day after!

Salute!

Puttanesca Please!

Servings:  4-5

  • 1 box or bag Whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 1 1/2 jars of Bertolli spaghetti sauce (or YOUR favorite)
  • 2 T chopped garlic
  • 1 t (or more) agave nectar
  • 1-2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • splash of red wine (optional)
  • 1-2 T EVOO
  • 1/2-1 c chopped artichokes
  • 1/4-1/2 c chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/8 c chopped capers
  • freshly grated parmesean (optional garnish)

Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over low.  Add the chipotle pepper flakes and let warm for a minute or two.  Turn the heat up to med-low and add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (do not let it turn brown) and then add the artichokes, olives, capers, wine (optional) and herbs.  Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the sauce and agave nectar.  Let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Allow to thicken to your desired consistency.

Meanwhile, fill a big stock pot and heat your water to boil.  Add the pasta and cook 10-12 minutes, until al’ dente.   Drain and set aside.

Fill your bowl with a big scoop of the pasta and cover it with the sauce.  Garnish with dried herbs and/or parmasean.

Mango and lime salsa

Mango and lime salsa

I had my girlfriends down last weekend to celebrate the April birthday’s in the bunch (3 of 5 of us!).  I wanted to have an easy and refreshing snack for them upon arrival.  I didn’t have time to run to town to pick up  the usual treats so I turned to what I had on hand.  I had picked up a flat of champagne mangos earlier in the week — which I usually eat 2 of daily while they are available.  This just happened to be a CRAZY week and I hadn’t eaten my usual quantity, which left me with about 10 perfectly ripe mangoes to eat SOON!  So I decided to pull out this recipe for mango salsa that I had been eyeing for some time.  I made my usual modifications and THIS is what ended up satisfying my girlfriends that fun Friday afternoon.  I served it with whole grain chips and loads of red wine to wash it down– INCREDIBLE!  Give this one a try, you won’t be sorry–not until the bowl is empty anyway!

Bon Appetit!

Mango and Lime Salsa

  • 6 ripe champagne mangoes (I buy mine at Sam’s, I have heard they Costco also carried them), chopped into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • juice of 1-2 limes
  • large pinch of chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1-2 t cumin seed

Combine all ingredients.  Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour (if you have the patience), stirring often to let the flavors develop and penetrate the mango.