Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is a wonderful pasta dish that was created way back in the mid-20th century - by the Italians of course. The ingredients that go into making this recipe vary from region to region.
The original ingredients that make up a Puttanesca sauce are olives, capers, garlic and tomatoes. Other regions throughout Italy may use bell peppers, anchovies or chili peppers. Of course, I had to put my own spin on this wonderful dish, keeping the saltiness intact along with its tangy flavor, I added grilled chicken for a more substantial meal and served it over a bed of sautéed broccoli rabe. Although the classic recipe for this dish used spaghetti other pastas work very well here.
You can find the broccoli rabe recipe on my Home Cooking site here at BellaOnline, for which I have provided a link at the bottom of this article.
1 lb. dried penne pasta
4 tbsps. Olive oil, divided
1 large Spanish onion, diced
5 large cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. capers, chopped
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
4 large anchovy filets, chopped
1 1/2 cups Kalamata olives, sliced
1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (plus 1/2 can water)
4 thin boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling (optional)
1. Cook the dried pasta according to package directions until aldente (firm to the bite.) Drain and set aside.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over a medium heat in a large skillet or pan. Add the diced onion, capers, red pepper if using, anchovies and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine. Cook for approximately 5 - 7 minutes or until the onions start to become translucent. Add the Kalamata olives, the crushed tomatoes and water. Simmer and stir occasionally over a low heat for approximately 20 minutes. Note: If the sauce is too thick and spatters, add a little more water to thin it out.
3. While the sauce is simmering, sprinkle the chicken breasts with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper. If you have an indoor cast iron grill or griddle, cook the chicken breasts for approximately 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. Alternatively, if you don't have an indoor grill cook the chicken breasts in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 20 minutes or on top of the stove in a skillet. Slice the chicken into thin strips and add this to the sauce. Add the pasta and combine well into the sauce and heat through (2 - 3 minutes.)
Plate the pasta on top of the sautéed broccoli rabe and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!