A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pasta Puttanesca & Roasted Zucchini

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pasta Puttanesca & Roasted Zucchini

 A funny little fact about my husband: He loves pasta.  I mean, I think everyone loves pasta but this guy could eat it every night of the week and never get sick of it.  In fact, when we first met and started dating that is basically what he did.  He'd cook up an entire box of angel hair and eat it with jarred marinara and shredded cheese for every dinner that week.  When I would go over to his place to make dinner together I'd open his pantry and find it stocked with boxes of pasta and almost nothing else.  It was kind of a running joke that this was all he really ate and one year his uncle gave him a case of Barilla angel hair pasta for Christmas.

Well, I love pasta with tomato sauce as much as the next person but, unlike my husband, I also get bored with eating the same thing over and over again pretty quickly.  So, sometimes I need to find creative ways to shake up a standard pasta marinara dinner and one of our favorite alternatives is Puttanesca.  If you've never had a Puttanesca sauce, it's a salty and savory take on tomato sauce.  Great ingredients like olives, capers, and anchovies make the sauce rich and give it more depth of flavor, but it's actually very simple to make.  Serve it up with a little grated parmesan and some veggies (like this simple and tasty roasted zucchini) and it's an elegant and easy meal-- something different and fun for me and something familiar for my husband.  A balanced dinner, for sure.

Pasta Puttanesca & Roasted Zucchini

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Tbs. anchovy paste
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 Tbs. drained capers
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 8 oz. whole wheat linguine
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch round slices
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dry oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add anchovy paste and stir to combine ingredients, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until almost al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add pasta and reserved pasta water to tomato mixture; increase heat to medium-high. Cook 5 minutes or until pasta is al dente, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve. 

For the zucchini: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl combine zucchini, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Spread mixture out on a large cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms of the zucchini are browned.  Remove from oven, flip zucchini slices over and bake for an additional 5-6 minutes or until browned on both sides.

Adapted from Puttanesca recipe courtesy of Faith Willinger, Cooking Light.

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