Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Skillet Baked Ziti with Puttanesca Sauce

     There are many myths as to how Pasta Puttenesca got it's start, the most popular being that in Italy, ladies of the evening lured their gentlemen callers with the fragrant aromas of this flavorful sauce.  Nobody knows the true origin of the recipe but one thing is for sure, the ingredients for this pungent dish can be easily found and stored in your pantry.  It's a great last minute kind of supper and a good camper's meal, except for the cheese, none of the ingredients require refrigeration.  I made this in my 12 inch dutch oven over a full compliment of coals and the lid covered with 24-26 briquettes, you need to keep it at a strong simmer for a good 30 minutes.  If you like the salty, strong flavors of capers, olives and anchovies as much as I do, you'll love this one pot pasta.  Add a half teaspoon of dried basil with the canned tomatoes if you can't find the fresh variety.  This simple and inviting dutch oven dinner is adapted from a recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Skillet Baked Ziti with Puttanesca Sauce
1 Tblsp olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
3 or more anchovy fillets, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
12 oz. (4 cups) uncooked ziti or penne pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
2 Tblsp capers
1/2 cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Saute oil, garlic, anchovy and pepper flakes over a full compliment of coals for 3-5 minutes or until oil is fragrant and garlic has softened.
     Add crushed tomatoes, water and ziti.  Cover with as many coals on the lid as needed to bring sauce to a bubble.      
     Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until ziti is almost tender.
     Stir in Parmesan, basil, capers and olives. 
     Sprinkle Mozzarella evenly over ziti.  Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes or until cheese has melted and is lightly browned.

Saute garlic, red pepper and anchovies briefly in olive oil

Add pasta, water and crushed tomatoes

Simmer for 20-25 minutes then stir in olives, capers and Parmesan cheese

Top with Mozzarella and cook until cheese has melted and browned

Hot, salty and spicey

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