I grew up avoiding any dish or recipe that included anchovies. My dad loved them – but I just couldn’t get past the look of those little fishes packed in their small flat cans! So when I learned that my husband Jack grew up on (and completely raved about) some classic Italian pasta dishes like Alici and Puttanesca – I reluctantly agreed to give anchovies another try!
And…I was proven wrong. While you still won’t catch me eating anchovies straight out of the can – they do add a fantastic and very authentic “Italian” flavor to recipes like our No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce Over Pasta!
Puttanesca is Italian for “worthless” and this delicious sauce is believed to have originated in the 1950’s when chef Sandro Petti combined “any kind of garbage” together to make a sauce for some late-arriving customers at his restaurant.
This particular version is a recipe that Jack helped to develop many years ago during his food service days. A guest chef in his kitchen came up with the idea of serving a puttanesca sauce as part of a pasta sauté station – but to make the line move more quickly, they created this recipe as a fresh, no-cook puttanesca sauce that was then served over hot pasta.
The heat from the pasta ‘cooks’ the sauce just enough to bring out the wonderful flavors of the tomatoes, olives and capers – but not so much that you lose the wonderful freshness of the tomatoes! And the anchovies? Trust me – you’ve got to include them! This pasta dish wouldn’t be the same without them – they add a terrific and distinctive flavor that is truly amazing!
Served along with some grated Parmesan cheese, this No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce over Pasta is also great served at room temperature (perfect for when you need a make-ahead dish) – and any leftover puttanesca sauce is also pretty fantastic eaten cold on a fresh salad! (Jack will also tell you that he caught me sneaking a few spoonfuls right out of the refrigerator!)Print
Cooking time listed is the time it takes to cook the pasta served as part of this dish.
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta (any type, we used Cellentani)
- 1 2-ounce can of anchovies
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons drained and rinsed capers
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1 pound fresh garden ripe tomatoes or one 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup oil cured olives pitted and roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, drain the anchovies and place them in cold water for a ten minutes. Then drain and dry. Set aside.
- In a mortar, place garlic and the pinch of salt and crush to a paste. Alternately, you could do this on a cutting board with the side of a knife pressing over and over into a fine paste.
- Add the anchovies and continue to work into a paste.
- Add the capers and about a teaspoon of the oil and continue to work into a paste.
- Add the remaining oil and half the parsley and continue to work into a paste. Set this aside.
- If using fresh tomatoes, place a strainer over a medium bowl. Core tomatoes and cut in half on the horizon and squeeze the seeds into the strainer. Then push the seeds and pulp around the strainer to extract all juice. Discard seeds. Cut the tomatoes into rough pieces and add to the juice. If using canned, pour into a medium bowl.
- Add the contents of the mortar to the tomatoes and stir.
- Add the chopped olives and stir again.
- Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. You may not need the salt depending on how well you rinsed the anchovies and capers.
- Drain the hot cooked pasta and return to the pot. Add this sauce and heat just to serving temperature.
- Serve with the rest of the chopped parsley and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
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