One Pot Wonder: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

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It is day 25 of renovations and I am slowly losing the will to live.

For 21 of those days we have had a toilet that doesn’t work. 21 days and 4 plumbers later we finally have a working toilet and it feels like all of my Christmases have come at once. Small victories!

As I’m sure many of you know, and have probably experienced much worse, renovations have invaded EVERY aspect of life (yes, that is a dropcloth in my picture). Most evenings, I have to reorganize the entire kitchen like one of those annoyed puzzles just to access the stove-top.

Simple, one pot meals are my life saver at the moment.

I have been seeing variations of this meal around the internet and decided to give it a try. What I really love about it is how sticky and thick the sauce becomes when you cook the pasta in it.

I also really love the history of this dish. Pasta alla Puttanesca literally translates to “spaghetti of the whore”. Although its history is a bit disputed, there seems to be three main versions of how it got its delightful name.

1)   It was an easy dish for prostitutes to cook while “meeting with a client” and then quick and nutritious for her to eat in between clients as well.

2)   A restaurateur was faced with a problem when he had run out of ingedients to make a dish and a table of ladies was demanding to be fed. He just threw a bunch of random bits and bobs in a pot and served it to them.

3)  That when it was being cooked in the local brothel, the strong, salty fragrance of this sauce would lure men in off of the street.

I like all of the stories equally. So, whatever your reason for making this sauce- to save your sanity or to get your energy up in between clients, you’ll be very glad you did.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
One Pot Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
 
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Adapted from http://yupitsvegan.com/2014/03/12/one-pot-spaghetti-alla-puttanesca/
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 12 oz. spaghetti noodles (I used plain spaghetti)
  • 3 oz. sliced good quality black olives
  • 1 cup (1/2 of a 15 oz can) cooked chickpeas
  • 2 TBSP capers
  • 1 tsp caper brine
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, sliced (I used oil packed)
  • I onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, low sodium or no salt added
  • 2 large handfuls of rocket (arugula)
  • 2 TBSP italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 4 cups good quality vegetable broth,
  • Shredded vegan parmesan cheese (I used Cheezly Dairy-Free Hard Italian Style)
Instructions
  1. Add the uncooked pasta to a large, deep pan over medium high heat.
  2. Top with the remaining ingredients finishing by topping the whole lot with the vegetable broth.
  3. Cover the pan and bring to a boil.
  4. Keep covered and reduce to low heat.
  5. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. Should be finished in about 10 minutes.

 

Thai Peanut Noodles

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I’m a peanut butter addict. There is no denying it.

If you put a jar of peanut butter and I in a room together, only one of us will come out alive… and the other one will have peanut butter all over her face and hands.

But, peanut butter has generally been more of a sweet ingredient to me… best served with apple slices or bananas or (let’s be honest) chocolate, caramel, cookies etc.

Ben doesn’t have a sweet tooth. Moreover, he thinks that peanuts should remain decidedly savoury and that peanut butter in general is an abomination (it’s a good thing he’s cute).

Given my combative nature, I’m out on a mission to prove him wrong… and also to challenge myself to create a few more savoury dishes with peanut butter (because you ALWAYS need more dishes with peanut butter in them). This is the first of those challenges.

The pros: this was delicious and peanutty, but completely savoury. The cons: It didn’t quite satisfy me in the way that a peanut butter and banana sandwich does AND I’ve had to share my jar of peanut butter. It’s a double edged sword, this combative nature of mine.

So, while I may not have found a exact fit for sweet, sweet peanut butter in this savoury world, I have still found a pretty tasty dish that we both enjoyed… but not enough to share my jar of peanut butter.

Thai Peanut Noodles
 
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One pot spicy thai peanut noodles
Author:
Recipe type: Bowl Food
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 4 cups good quality vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP sriracha sauce (rooster sauce)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1 pack of extra firm tofu, cut in to small chunks
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • ½ onion, cut in to chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in to chunks
  • 4 green onions, sliced in to 3 inch pieces
  • 3 TBSP chunky, natural peanut butter
  • zest of 1 lime
  • One small bunch of cilantro(coriander)
  • Juice of lime
  • 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts ( I used tamari roasted peanuts)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except cilantro (coriander), peanuts and lime juice in a large pot.
  2. Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so.
  4. Simmer until pasta is cooked to your liking and almost all liquid has evaporated.
  5. Sauce will thicken up slightly upon standing, so bear that in mind.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring well to mix sauce.
  7. Mix in cilantro (coriander), peanuts and lime juice.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
adapted from: http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-wonder-thai-peanut-pasta-recipe/

 

BEN’S VERDICT (AKA A MEATEATER RESPONDS):  

Lets get one thing clear young lady.  If you, me and this bowl of nutty deliciousness are locked in a room together, only one of us is coming out alive.  And there won’t be wasted decorating my face.  Every single last morsel of this little bowl  will go down my gullet quicker than you can say peanutalicious.

I am pretty sure that I am not alone in thinking peanuts are strictly for savoury by the way.  I am pretty sure that the words peanut butter and jello will send shivers down many a right thinking Englishman’s spine (I do not even know what jello is by the way but I am sure it cannot be good).

Anyway, this was all told a very satisfying dish all told. I barely even noticed the tofu!

 

Meateater tested Vegan approved

 

Hotplate Cooking: Tomato Basil Sauce with Chickpeas

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University student?

Bachelor?

Living in a small apartment in Chiang Mai?

Hot date coming over that you need to impress and you don’t have an oven? Don’t despair!

This dish proves that although cooking with just a hotplate, one sauce pan and one frying pan might not be the ideal situation, delicious, filling and from scratch meals can still be made fairly easily.

And, this dish is incredibly inexpensive to boot!

But wait… there’s more!

If you stick around over the next few posts, I’ll show you how to take a big pot of this pasta sauce and turn the leftovers into three separate meals!

That’s three separate dates that you can impress with this one recipe.

How’s that for value?

Tomato Basil Chickpea Pasta
 
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Tomato Basil Chickpea Pasta
Author:
Recipe type: Big Bites
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (or puree if you are in the UK)
  • 400g can passata
  • 400g can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 TBSP italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp vegetable stock powder or 1 crumbled stock cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or 1 15oz can, drained and rinsed)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • few basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add onions and cook until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, then gently fry for 1 min.
  3. Add tomato paste (puree) and cook until tomato paste has darkened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add in other ingredients, except the basil, then bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat, then allow to simmer, stirring occasionally. The longer it simmers, the more concentrated the flavours will get. I usually simmer for about 45 minutes.
  6. To finish, tear the basil leaves, then stir into the sauce.
  7. Serve over freshly cooked pasta of your choice!

 

BEN’S VERDICT (AKA A MEATEATER RESPONDS): 

[Exchange between me and Jen when I read this post]

Ben: Who’s this hot date coming over then?!  

Jen: You!  

Ben: What are doing cooking me cheap food!

Jen: You didn’t complain when you had your third helping!

I always forget how much I like spaghetti; it is the pasta from childhood and we tend to put it away as we grow older.  The sophisticated tagliatelli and the cultured fusilli have their merits, but there is always a place in my heart for a big bowl (or three) of spaghetti.

I am getting more and more amazed at the chickpea.  I thought it was only good for curries and hoummous but it appears to be more versatile than I imagined.  It added a good texture and flavour to the tomato sauce.

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