Spaghetti ala Puttanesca


Revised by author on 12/30/2013

Spaghetti ala Puttanesca

Spicy and garlicky, infused with anchovies! My kind of spaghetti…

Spaghetti ala Puttanesca

Spaghetti ala Puttanesca

Spaghetti ala Puttanesca

Recently I stumbled upon a description of this dish in a book, called Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos, that I checked out from the library on a whim. (Yes, though I have an Amazon Prime and a tablet, I still check out books from public library. I also still prefer books than e-books.) Anyway, one of the characters in this novel ( a book that has nothing to do with cooking by the way) described and raved about the dish in such a beautiful way that it made me hungry. Immediately! And that name, Spaghetti ala Puttanesca, the Whore’s Style Spaghetti? Wild! How could I resist the urge to try a dish with such a scandalous title?

In no time, I found tons of recipes for the dish online. I made mine using Nigella Lawson’s. This recipe had me at jalapeño. Here’s my adapted version. I liked it even more with the following revisions!

  • I used 12 10 instead of eight marinated anchovies (usually come in a tin or a jar)
  • I used five fresh jalapeno peppers (chopped) instead of pickled and chili flakes
  • I chopped five fresh tomatoes (instead of mixing them with canned tomato sauce) two heirloom and mix them with a small can (8 oz) of tomato sauce (not dice tomatoes or tomato paste)
  • Two tablespoon of olive oil
  • Two tablespoon of capers (drained and rinsed)
  • Three tablespoon of (roughly) chopped black olives Forgot to buy black olives so I went without
  • Five garlic (chopped) Four
  • A handful of parsley (chopped)

(Serves 3-4 people)


  • Boil the pasta. Add a little bit of salt and olive oil into the water. Follow the instruction on the packaging.
  • Mix anchovies, jalapeño peppers, and garlic in a food processor then cook it with olive oil on a heated medium pot for two or three minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, capers, and tomato sauce into the pot. Stir to mix everything together and let it cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Heat up a large pan, add olive oil, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and anchovies. Mix them well. Add jalapeno peppers, black olives, and capers. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 10–15 minutes
  • Drain the pasta, mix with the sauce, and add parsley
  • Serve and eat up!

Another easy and delicious recipe to keep.

Thanks for reading. Hope your week is going well!

Sources of inspiration for this blog entry:

Marisa de los Santos’ Belong to Me (pg. 44)

Nigella Lawson’s recipe: Slut’s Spaghetti

Summer on a Plate

Basil Pesto, Eggplant, Pasta, Vegetable Recipes

On one beautiful summer weekend, Jeff and I along with four of our friends (with one couple’s two young children) rented a vacation house on a sand dune by Lake Michigan. Oh what a fun weekend we had!

We probably spent the whole weekend being outside. We swam in the lake, strolled around a cute beach town, grilled and cooked delicious food with international flavors, and chilled by the fire at night making smores while sipping wine and beer. Did I mention the delicious food we made and had? 🙂 It was no wonder at all. When you put six people who love to eat, cook, and appreciate good food, you could easily end up with some fantastic dishes.  I got too busy enjoying the food that I forgot to take pictures! So, I’ll just tell you what we had: Indonesian fried rice with shrimp, tuna steak with corn salad, turkey burger with red peppers and onions, a FANTASTIC guacamole, chili pepper marinade/dip, and an eggplant/tomato dish served with pita bread.

Now, for this blog entry, let me share with you the eggplant/tomato dish recipe—since I just made it too last night. So that weekend, we decided to take turns in making dinner. A couple of our friends brought fresh tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers from their garden. When it was their turn to cook, they prepared a one-pot meal of eggplants cooked with tomatoes, garlic, peppers, and a little bit of salt and pepper. Super easy and yummy. The dish reminded me of me of this Indonesian eggplant dish, only milder. Our friends served the dish with pita bread and gave the rest of the fresh vegetables they didn’t cook to me to take home.

Yesterday, I gazed at the abundance of fresh produce our friends gave us. I also noticed that my basil plants were in full force. A dinner idea came to mind: that eggplant/tomato dish and my basil pesto pasta  with pan-seared sea bass and sea scallops. What a great flavor and color combination they made! The green basil pesto coated the pasta with that fantastic basil fragrance, the savory taste from the cheese, and nuttiness of pine nuts. The eggplant/tomato dish gave out sweet, tangy, and fresh flavors that wonderfully complemented the pesto pasta taste. So delightful!

Here’s how I made the eggplant dish (just like how my friend made it at the beach house):

  • I used four smaller and skinnier eggplants
  • Halved the eggplants and cut into four long pieces
  • Chopped them up into shorter cuts
  • I diced up five medium size tomatoes
  • Minced four garlic
  • Chopped three sweet peppers
  • Chopped seven hot finger peppers (optional)
  • Heated up a medium pot with a tablespoon of olive oil
  • Let the garlic sizzled for a minute, add all of the above, and a little salt and pepper  into the pot
  • Closed with a lid and cooked until the eggplants turned soft and translucent

Click here to see: Basil Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops recipe (I used spaghetti instead of penne for this one)

I’ll post more delicious recipes that came out of our beach house adventure soon 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

(Original recipe by and a special thanks to Leena Hamdi, and to Spas)

Easy Summer Menu: Colorful Tomato Salad


I like tomatoes. They are so colorful, plump, and cheerful. When I was little, mom used to make a refreshing treat out of tomatoes. She’d cut them up, mixed with crushed ice, and sprinkled sugar on top of them. Delicious!

I have two tomato plants growing and I can’t wait until they start bearing fruits! Since I can’t have my own home-grown tomatoes yet, I got these wonderful and colorful ones from the market the other day and turned them into a delicious summer salad!

I just sliced the tomatoes in big wedges, sprinkled them with a little salt and black pepper, drizzled an equal amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar (you could also use red wine vinegar instead of balsamic if you want), and added basil leaves I picked from my container garden. I covered the plate and chilled it for a bit before serving. Easy and yummy!

I served this salad with the steak that my guy grilled for us and the sweet and spicy corn salad (next entry) that he also made. Mmm…another fabulous dinner!