I love spicy dishes. I love zip and a piquant punch in my food. Puttanesca should be right up my alley. However, traditionally a puttanesca sauce contains anchovies and olives – which I HATE! I decided to try to make one that suited my taste – which is exactly what I encourage you to do. Often, we might like something…except for this or that. So, I say – leave it out – or substitute the part you don’t like for something you do!
This recipe is very versatile. I decided to make this a cream sauce. Don’t want those extra calories? Leave out the cream! Don’t care for capers? Switch them for olives if that’s your thing. Don’t care for it to be too spicy? Leave out the red pepper flakes or just add chopped tomatoes (without chilis). Want it vegetarian? Leave out the chicken and use veg stock.
Make this one your own! Regardless of what you decide – I think you’ll find it to be delicious!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks (look for stir fry chicken – works perfectly)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ onion, chopped
5 sundried tomatoes, chopped finely
2 tablespoons capers, drained
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced
1 10-ounce can tomatoes with chilis (such as Rotel)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces light cream
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (more for garnish)
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (more for garnish)
1-pound short pasta (such as ziti, penne or farfalle)
In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink – but not necessarily cooked all the way through – about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
In the same pan add onion, sundried tomatoes, capers, garlic, tomatoes with chilis and red bell pepper. After a minute or two, add the red pepper flakes. Sauté until vegetables are softened – about 5 minutes. Add chicken back to pan.
Add butter and sprinkle in flour. Mix until vegetables and chicken are covered. Reduce heat to low. Slowly add the cream, stirring constantly. Mixture will be quite thick. Add ½ cup of chicken stock, a little at a time, to loosen the sauce. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Taste for seasoning. Allow sauce to keep bubbling away while you make the pasta. But be sure to stir occasionally, – add stock as necessary to loosen.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions – until al dente. Typically, ziti will take just under 9 minutes. Before draining pasta, reserve about a ½ cup pasta water. Drain.
In the same pot used to cook the pasta, pour in sauce and mix thoroughly. Add pasta water as necessary to keep moist. Serve in bowls, garnish with a little Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
A great day for me is preparing great meals for friends and family. I enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and also updating classics that I've enjoyed for years. I love to travel and try lots of new cuisines - and wouldn't be anything without the love of my family!