While olive oil has long been a staple in my pantry, the actual fruit itself was not welcome. I found its extreme saltiness and pungency off-putting. Now, however, I embrace it for those very same reasons. I heard somewhere that it is a sign of aging. Tell me it isn’t so! In any case, I broke the “no olives allowed” pact I made with my husband and will gladly eat all the ones he picks out from his plate.
Although popping them in my mouth sure is convenient and satisfying, I can’t ignore my swollen face and hands any longer. Not to mention too much of a good thing isn’t always beneficial even if it’s healthy. Everything in moderation! I live and breathe this motto. Labeling certain foods “evil,” only led me down a destructive path in the past.
So to help with portion control, I’ve been incorporating them into well-balanced meals. Pasta Puttanesca is one of them. The aromatic and briny sauce pairs well with whole-wheat pasta and peppery arugula, and also goes nicely on top of chicken, mild fish, etc. It is one versatile sauce, and it freezes really well, too.
And if it so happens that you didn’t plan ahead (totally understandable), as long as you have a well-stocked pantry, you can whip up this meal in no time. The sauce can be made in the same time as it takes for the pasta to cook. Sounds like music to my ears.
Ingredients (6 servings)
- 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 6 anchovies, rinsed and chopped
- 1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes and their juice, preferably no salt added
- 1/2 cup chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 Tbs capers
- 1 cup freshly chopped arugula
- Parmesan cheese, crumbled w/fork
- Basil leaves
- Fresh arugula (optional)
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water with salt until barely al dente.
While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion, garlic, anchovies, and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and onion is slightly caramelized, about 2-4 minutes.
Add tomatoes and their juice, breaking them up by hand. Stir in capers and olives. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until thickened, approx 8-10 min. Stir in arugula and simmer for a minute until slightly wilted.
When pasta is done, drain and add to skillet, tossing it with sauce to combine. Top with crumbled cheese and torn basil.