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Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

When life gives you anchovies, make puttanesca.

At least that’s what I suggest for the salty little fishies, a relatively foreign ingredient to me.

When my last freelance assignment called for anchovies, I admit I was skeptical. The smell alone from opening the can made me nervous about what they’d do to the end result in my frying pan. Just to get them into the pan caused a little anxiety. Would their signature aroma get a little too cozy with my cutting board? Luckily it didn’t.

The first recipe I used them in, a smoky potato and leek salad dressed with Bagna Cauda, awakened me to the fact that cooking anchovies will help cut their pungency. Still, a little does go a long way, but sautéed in olive oil, these fishy fishies become much more flavor-lending than fishy-tasting. I was quite pleased with the results of the Banga Cauda. Anchovy fear, I have no more.

After that first cooking venture, I was left with half of a can’s worth. Without doing prior research, the only dishes that came to mind utilizing anchovies were pizza and puttanesca. I went with the latter.

I admit, I did once make an ode against using this ingredient in tomato sauce. But that was from my anchovy-fearing days. Which as I just said, I’ve parted ways with. After my awakening, I was finally ready to tackle puttanesca in its original form, anchovies and all.

Again, quite pleased with the results, I’m sharing my recipe with you here. It’s simple to make and much quicker than your standard simmer-all-day marinara sauce. When you’re looking for a weeknight dinner, I suggest you try tackling your fear of anchovies too. Or just wait until life throws them your way. Then, when life gives you anchovies, make puttanesca.

If you do already happen to be an anchovy warrior, give me a shout out. I’d love to hear your recommendations of how to next utilize the ingredient’s flavor.

Pasta Puttanesca

Click here for recipe…

The Perfect Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Sometimes (well, actually, a lot of times) a satisfying meal can be made without much effort simply by having the right combination of ingredients on hand. For me, the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese is one of those meals.

If I’m eating in at a bagel joint, time and time again I’m bound to order the smoked salmon or lox option. It’s creamy. It’s chewy. It’s salty. It’s satisfying. It’s also a combination that’s easy to recreate at home, and by purchasing a few extra add-ons, like capers and arugula, you can essentially make yourself the “perfect” bagel sandwich.

There’s really not much to it. Just make sure you start with quality bagels. The better the bagel, the more sinful chewing you’ll get to do. “Everything” are my favorite because not only do you get to have the best of so many bagel worlds, but the sesame and onion are ideal compliments of salmon. For the cream cheese, I go with whipped because the airiness works well with the dense salmon. Chive cream cheese is also a nice choice. The arugula helps to cut the saltiness while adding flavor without any of the wateriness that lettuce might add. Dill also keeps things fresh, while the onions and capers keep on packing in the flavor. And there you have the perfect sandwich, requiring nothing more than a few ingredients and some novice positioning skills.

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Tomato Olive Spaghetti

This was one of the most flavorful sauces I’ve made in awhile. Flavorful but not stinky. It had all the saltiness and flavor of a puttanesca, minus the smelliness that comes from anchovies. I’ve had puttanesca sauces I’ve enjoyed before, but sometimes those little fish make the classic sauce just a tad too overwhelming for my nose and taste-buds. Plus, I was doing the cooking, and lingering garlic on my hands I can take, but fishiness I can not.

Instead, I went for a basil-oregano fragrance, which if you ask me should be bottled and sold among the Channel No. 5’s. Perfumes these days are far too sweet for my liking. I want to eat my cake, not smell like it too. Fresh basil on the other hand, that’s a clean smell I could probably stand for longer than just a whiff.

I tossed those herbs in with some sauce and finished the whole thing off with another herby element by utilizing freshly chopped parsley. It was like Christmas on my plate, with each bite unwrapping another nuance of flavor.

This is a sauce that’s sure to hold up to whole wheat pasta, and it’s got a texture that goes ideally with a thin-stranded variety. While the foodies might call me out for this, this is as deliciously pungent as puttanesca, no fish required.
Click here for recipe…