Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ChezCindy: Spring Puttanesca with Linguine Pasta


Classic puttanesca is traditionally made with big bold flavors, most always including tomatoes and/or tomato paste, along with capers, olives, and garlic.  Punchy, fragrant and enticing in so many ways.  

This recipe brings a curve ball eliminating the tomatoes and leading off with a line-up of spring players.  I use wild ramps, a wonderful aromatic allium only found in early spring.  It has the flavor combination of leeks and garlic.  Check the local farmers markets in April to score this treasure.  If ramps are not available, the market will likely have spring onions, a cousin to common grocery store green onions, or scallions.  I'm also including herbaceous spring salad greens such as baby arugula or spinach.  

Anchovies, or not.  They offer such depth of flavor.  You can leave them out or substitute white miso paste or Worcestershire sauce.  Pasta choice for this recipe is linguine, but your favorite or what you have available is good too.  That is the beauty of puttanesca as it uses mostly pantry staples, onions, garlic, olives, capers, Calabrian peppers, and traditionally, canned tomatoes.  An easy go-to that is quick to bring to the table.  This classic change-up will score big with your loved ones.  

Spring Puttanesca with Linguine Pasta

1-pound uncooked linguine
1 large bunch ramps, or 2 spring onions, or 6 green onions
1/2 cup olive oil
5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1-ounce flat anchovy fillets in olive oil, or 1 tablespoon white miso paste, or 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 teaspoons jarred Calabrian chilies in oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and coarsely chopped (or your favorite olive)
3 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley

Additional olive oil for serving

Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil.  Add in 2 tablespoons of salt and the linguine, stirring to keep the pasta from sticking together.  Cook for 2 minutes less than the time listed on the pasta package.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain.  Set aside.

While the pasta cooks, thinly slice the ramps, or onions, separating the bulbs form the greens.  Thinly slice the garlic, chop the olives and the parsley.  Set aside.  Measure out all other ingredients as the cooking process moves quickly.  Best to be ready with each ingredient.

Working with a large high-sided pan, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat, add in the olive oil, cooking for 1 minute.  Add in the prepared ramp bulbs or onion bulbs, garlic, anchovies or substitute, drained capers, and chilis, stirring to combine, cooking for about 3-5 minutes, until the anchovies have melted in and the ramp bulbs begin to soften.  Increase the heat to medium-high, add the wine, stirring often, cooking for 2-3 minutes until the wine is nearly evaporated.  Stir in the olives and ramp/onion greens stirring often until heated through, about 2 minutes.  

Add in the pre-cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, simmer and tossing to combine, about 3-4 minutes.  Off the heat, fold in the arugula and parsley, allowing the pasta to absorb the water, about 3-5 minutes.  Divide among serving bowls, drizzle a bit more olive oil on top and serve.  

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