Jump to recipe
My eldest’s favourite pasta is beef ravioli, the one from the supermarket in the chilled section marked ‘Fresh’. It is such a common addition to our home menu we usually have at least one packet in the freezer for those days when its all too hard and still need to feed everyone.
This time around I fancied something more than the regular marinara sauce or even the extra-lazy jar of premade sauce from the emergency supply. With that in mind, and after a rumage around in the fridge and cupboard, I was able to gather some olives, capers and anchovies, as well as the jar of passata and the other ingredients below and so the classic Puttenesca sauce came to mind.
Now there are stories on the internet and elsewhere about the name Puttanesca for this sauce, I have read a few and seen alsorts of reasons for a tomato based pasta sauce being named after a ‘lady of the night’, none of which I really care about, though do make good conversation while you enjoy the pasta.
Just like Sports teams or pubs in England, or if you look at the names of foods they are all in an apparent haphazard manner, but made perfect sense to the person that named them. Some names are complex, others obvious, some don’t try at all. Using the sport team analogy and comparing to food a few examples-
- Grimsby Town Football Club – UK Soccer
- Near zero effort in naming, but tells you where they are from and what they are, even if their ‘home ground’ is actually in the town next door.
- The food equivalant in this naming type would be perhaps “Lincolnshire sausage” for place name, or simply “fish and chips” for a simple yet clear name.
- San Francisco 49ers – US NFL
- What on earth is a 49er, sounds weird and possibly a little suspect, it actually relates to the period of the Gold rush of 1849 and the prospectors that travelled to the city.
- The Food Equivalent of naming after people would be thanks to Chef Escoffier and Dame Nellie Melba, the opera singer that has the distinction of two dishes to her name ” Peach Melba” and “Melba toast”.
- Brisbane Lions – Australian Rules Football
- Play with a lion emblem on their tops, yet there are no lions in Australia outside of zoos and wildlife parks! Why not a Dingo or Wombat?
- Food equivalent has to be something like “Buffalo wings” which are confusingly named after the place Buffalo not the large herbivore.
A digression to sport is unlike me, but I hope you understand the attempted point. I never liked standing in just shorts and a t-shirt in winter, covered in mud, while a heavy, wet leather ball is kicked at me, with some vague expectation and intention of me doing something with it. I considered bursting it, so we could go inside, more than once. Only knowing that that would invoke the ‘cross country run’ and 10 miles mud to the far side of beyond. No thanks! And don’t get me started on ‘spectator sports’
So back to the food. This is a quick and low effort sauce and as far as taste goes packs a punch well above you might otherwise expect. The anchovies are optional, and if you wish to use on plain pasta, or vegetarian filled pasta, go right ahead, its all good.
Ingredients – for upto 4 serves
500g Store bought fresh Ravioli
300ml Passata or a tin of diced tomatoes will work too
3 tablesp Baby capers ( go heaped I did)
1 dozen Olives – I had big dark Kalamata, but whatever you have will be fine
3-4 anchovies ( optional, but worth it)
1 large tomato
A few green beans
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar – basically a sprinkle
a garlic clove or two – preminced/puree is fine as is the dried stuff if that’s all you have.
about a teaspoon each of Basil and Oregano,
1/2 teaspoon of dried Chili flakes
1 tablesp olive oil
salt & pepper
Grated cheese for garnish
Bread to wipe the plates
- Put a large pan 3/4 full of water on the stove to boil for the pasta, add a good amount of salt, roughly 1 teaspoon per litre. A lid on top will have it boiling faster.
- Drain the olives and capers, the olives can have the stone removed at this stage, but I prefer to keep them in so they don’t break up.
- Quarter, de-seed and dice the tomato
- Chop the green beans into short pieces
- Peel and chop the garlic ifnot already prepared
- To a saucepan on medium heat, add first the olive oil, then add the olives, garlic, capers, and dried chilli and stir to warm through.
- Add the diced tomato, herbs and then pour in the passata, stir occasionally but do not allow to boil.
- By now the water will be boiling, add the pasta and cook according to directions on the pack, usually 5-7 minutes.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and half the sugar to the sauce, stir in again, then add the green beans.
- Check the seasoning to the sauce and adjust with the salt, pepper and possibly more sugar, depending on the tomato acidity and preference.
- Lift the pasta with a slotted spoon or ‘spyder’ directly into the sauce, stir quickly and serve immediately.
- Have that grated cheesse and bread ready you will be mopping that sauce in no time
Let me know if you like this, hate it or want to provide large sums of money to me.