15 February 2012

Seafood alla Puttanesca

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I can't help it, I have to take advantage of the space here to sing the virtues of an often maligned pasta shape.  I'm talking about capellini (a.k.a. angel hair pasta).  You know how it tends to clump up much more than, say, strands of linguine or spaghetti?  I know this tendency can be a major pain if you're trying to divide up individual servings from a bowl of pasta that's been sitting around for a while, but I have to say: I don't care how annoying it can be--capellini is perfectly lovely.

Without the stickiness that comes from such fine strands of pasta, you see, you wouldn't be able to get a huge, gorgeous swirl of pasta to rest stably on your fork as it travels from your bowl to your mouth.  And a big--I mean BIG--mouthful of perfectly-twirled pasta is just one of those things that makes me close my eyes in happiness.  I heart you capellini.


Now, this dish is not just another reason to eat angel hair pasta; it's also a dish so easy to put together and so lovely to eat you'll wonder why you don't make a home-cooked dinner every night of the week.  Seafood alla puttansca, I call it.  The pasta gets coated with a savory tomato sauce and then loaded up with a medley of goods like sweet sauteed onion and briny Kalamata olives and capers.  And while traditional alla puttanesca is made with a few anchovies blended into the sauce, here I substitute those little fishes with a fun seafood mix--shrimp, calamari, and scallops-- which gives you yummy nuggets to bite into as you dig through the pasta and sauce.

Chances are you'll have most of the ingredients for this quick and easy dish already on hand at home, and it will only take a few moments before you're ready to sit down to a great meal.  This was one of my favorite "pantry pasta" dishes that I threw together recently for a quick dinner, served with just a simple green salad alongside, and I think you'll enjoy it as much as we did.

Seafood Puttanesca on Capellini
Makes 4-6 servings

1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
2 Tbs. capers
20 pitted Kalamata olives
1 lb. seafood medley (shrimp, calamari, scallops)
1 lb. capellini (angel hair pasta)
salt for cooking pasta
Fresh parsley, minced, for garnish

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot.  Saute the onion until translucent, then add the garlic and stir, cooking for a minute more.  Add the white wine and let boil until reduced by half.  Stir in the red pepper flakes and dried herbs, then add the crushed tomatoes, capers, and olives.  Bring to a boil, then add seafood and reduce heat and simmer until cooked (can be done while preparing pasta), stirring occasionally to prevent bottom from burning.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, then add a handful of salt and return water to a full boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  Drain pasta water and stir a cup of tomato sauce into the pasta to prevent it from sticking.  Divide pasta among individual bowls and top with scoops of seafood and sauce.  Finish with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.


Unknown said...

I just stumbled across your blog, and I think we share some similar tastes. I love this pasta dish. So simple and beautiful. I imagine that it tasted like Italy. I love your photography style. Your pictures are so bright and clear. Great use of lighting.

Rachelle said...

I just made a lobster puttanesca last night. I made mine a little different. I pureed the garlic with olive oil and anchovy paste and added it to the tomato sauce with capers, red pepper flakes and olives. It was delicious.

I love puttanesca. Such a perfect seafood pasta.

Anonymous said...

Looks great, but I have to admit, I'm one of those capellini haters! A mouthful of linguini is what give me happiness so I'll try this recipe with linguini!

erica said...

Thanks for stopping by and visiting, Heather!
And Rachelle, lobster puttanesca sounds like a marvelous idea! I bet that was a perfect Valentine's Day dinner! :)

CEK said...

Good morning, I featured this recipe on my blog today, it looks great! Thanks for allowing me to share. Here is the link http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/04/week-15-seafood-frenzy-friday-and-guest.html

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