#11 – Cook a meal of his choice from our Italian cookbook

In my household hubby does the cooking almost every night. 75% of the time when I’m responsible for dinner I opt for a place with a menu. I always joke that I don’t need to be good in the kitchen as long as I know the number for Papa Murphy’s pizza. The thing that’s funny is that I’m actually a pretty decent cook but I just usually choose not to do it. As a treat for my husband I decided that I would cook him any meal he wanted out of our Italian cookbook. He was actually really happy when I handed him the book and told him to pick anything and I would make it. Unfortunately, he didn’t like anything he saw. His exact comment was, “how come I can’t find a good hearty pasta dish in an Italian cookbook?” So I pulled out our Rachel Ray cookbook (I think it does qualify as “Italian”) and he chose Pasta Puttanesca.

An interesting fact about Pasta Puttanesca, it literally translates to “The Whore’s Pasta.” The reason for this is because it was quick, cheap and easy for the women in Italian brothels to make. Some lore also mentions them putting it in their windows to attract men. It is a fairly simple, yet delicious dish. Long pasta (spaghetti is most popular, but we used linguine) is topped with a olive oil/tomato/garlic/black olive/caper/parsley sauce and topped with Romano cheese.

Since every food post isn’t complete without a photo:

linguine puttanesca, pasta puttanesca, puttanesca, italian foodnot my exact dish but it looked like that, photo found thanks to Google images

Everything turned out great! I added an anchovy cracker appetizer (from the leftover anchovies you don’t put in the dish), ceasar salad, and breadsticks to complete the meal. The main thing is that my hubby enjoyed it and was really appreciative that I did something special just for him. Although I did tell him at one point, “gee, I make dinner and it’s considered a special event, you make dinner and it’s considered Wednesday.”

Recipe for Linguine Puttanesca (courtesy of Rachel Ray)

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 5)
  • 2 flat anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1 /2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used a bit more and still would have added extra)
  • 20 oil-cured black olives, cracked away from pit and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 (32-ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes (I only used 14 oz or so for a thicker sauce)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (a couple of handfuls) flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound linguine, cooked to al dente (I only used 3/4 lb)
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano, for passing, optional


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, garlic, anchovies, and crushed pepper.
  • Saute mixture until anchovies melt into oil and completely dissolve and garlic is tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Add olives, capers, tomatoes, black pepper, and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Toss sauce with cooked Linguine.
  • Sprinkle with Romano cheese.

About nduff

Pretty much the coolest nerd you'll ever meet. ;)
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