Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fusilli Col Buco Putanesca

     Pasta Putanesca!
     Fusilli Col Buco translates to corkscrew pasta.  Fusilli Col Buco is considered to be an artisan pasta and it can be used in place of capellini, spaghetti or linguine.
     The word "Putanesca" refers to harlot, prostitute or in a culinary sense, "A Hooker's Pasta."  Putanesca refers a quick "a la minute" pasta that was made by a lusty promiscuous wife after she got word that her fisherman husband was unexpectedly returning to home port.  Another story says that Putanesca was a low price pasta creation that chefs cooked for the hungry hookers just before dawn, after the evening prostitution business was done.  Either way, Putanesca is a quickly made cheap pasta that requires minimal preparation.  
      When I apprenticed in Italian kitchens back in the early 1980's, Putanesca always was made with a simple olive oil sauce and only items that have a long shelf life were added.  A few years later, a national chain restaurant marketed a bastardized version of Putanesca that was made with tomato sauce.  Eventually nearly every restaurant was serving the tomato sauce version, even though it was not authentic.
     Honestly, a tomato sauce does not really fit in with the theme of the Putanesca recipe, because Salsa di Pomodoro takes 4 hours to make.  Even Marinara Sauce takes 40 minutes to make.  The fisherman husband certainly would get suspicious of the wife while waiting 40 minutes to 4 hours for dinner to be made, when the meal should have been hot and ready on the table upon his return.  The olive oil sauce Putanesca only takes about 10 minutes to make, so the fisherman husband is happy and the wife is not suspected of fooling around!  So indeed, the olive oil sauce Putanesca is the authentic recipe!
     Use a generous amount of your best olive oil when making this bold tasting pasta.  Garlic is usually sliced, instead of being chopped, for olive oil pasta sauces.  Greek Kalamata Olives do not have the correct flavor profile for most Italian recipes.  Ripe Black Olives or Italian Oil Cured Olives are a better choice.
     Fusilli Col Buco Putanesca:
     This recipe yields 1 pasta entrée.
     Anchovy was once used like salt in Italy.  It is usually not necessary to add salt to a sauce that has anchovy in the list of ingredients.  Use your judgement when tasting, to see if the pasta needs a pinch of salt or not!
     The object of "a la minute" pasta is to have the sauce and pasta finish at the same time.  It is best to delay starting the sauce for a few minutes, because the Putanesca olive oil sauce only takes about half the time that it takes to cook pasta till it is al dente.   
     Step 1:  Start cooking 1 portion of Fusilli Col Buco Pasta in boiling water till it is al dente.
     Step 2:  *The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks, but wait 2 or 3 minutes, because Putanesca sauce only takes 4 or 5 minutes to make!
     Heat a wide sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add 3 garlic cloves that are thin sliced.
     Sauté the garlic till it is a golden color.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 2 to 3 chopped anchovy filets.
     Add 10 pitted ripe black olives that are cut in half.
     Add 2 teaspoons of capers.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 or 2 pinches of fresh ground black pepper.
     Gently warm the capers and olives, while the pasta finishes cooking.
     Step 4:  *If the pasta is not finished cooking, then remove the pan from the heat.  Reheat the sauce when the pasta is ready. 
     When the pasta is al dente, drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the pasta to the olive oil sauce in the sauté pan.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Step 5:  Mound the pasta on a plate.
     Try to expose a few olives, capers and sliced garlic on the surface, so they can be seen.
     Garnish with Italian Parsley sprigs.
     Serve with fine grated Parmigiana Cheese on the side.
     A traditional Pasta Putanesca is very simple and it takes very little time to make!  

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