Coco, Cooking, Designing, Travel

quick and dirty

This will be a speedy post, as we’re getting ourselves ready to go away for a long weekend in North Carolina – it’s our 10 year college reunion weekend! gulp Could someone explain to me where the last ten years went? I’ve got whiplash!

It occurred to me that I’ve never posted my adapted recipe for a puttanesca-flavored pasta sauce (or at least I think I haven’t posted about it before. See comment above re: speedy passage of time for explanation of my fading memory.) I thought this would be a fun post to whip up before our departure.

Anyway, puttanesca sauce has a bit of a “saucy” reputation/lineage/history, if you will, being the reputed dinner choice of Sicilian prostitutes who let the strongly flavored ingredients marry in a bowl on a windowsill in the warm sun while they….worked. So it humors me to no end that I make an even quicker/dirtier/lazier version of it when the temperatures soar and I don’t want to stand over a steaming stove in this summer-like weather or wait for hours while a bunch of ingredients marinate in the sun. I originally saw a version of this recipe in a long-ago issue of the Cucina Italia magazine. Essentially, it’s nothing more than an assembly and roasting process.


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and put a rack in the center of the oven. In your preferred roasting/baking dish (mine is a 13×9 pyrex dish, which is also big enough to hold the pasta once it’s cooked and store any leftovers in the fridge; less dishes = happier Danielle!), just toss in the following ingredients:

–enough capers and pitted kalamata olives to satisfy your salty side; I usually do about 1/2 cup of olives and a couple tablespoons max of the capers;

–the zest of a lemon, and the remainder of the lemon quartered and thrown in; once the sauce has been roasted, the lemon quarters can be juiced to add more flavor to the sauce;

–two to three cloves of garlic unchopped; I prefer them to stay whole so that they can flavor the sauce and then I can discard them if I don’t want full-on garlic breath;

–olive oil, salt (if desired on top of the caper/olive saltiness), and pepper to taste;

–and, obviously, the star of the show: tomatoes. This is a great recipe to use on not-so-great tomatoes to enhance their texture and overall flavor, especially the bland and mealy ones that we seem to be cursed to endure in our neighborhood. I used about 7 tomatoes from the vine here, deseeded and cut into eighths. Don’t be fastidious on chopping here; the heat will break the tomatoes down so bigger chunks are ok.

–I don’t use anchovies here, which are traditional in puttanesca. I don’t mind anchovies, it’s just that they’re hard to find and frankly, sometimes I’m lazy!

Toss everything together to get it evenly coated and then just roast unattended in the oven for 30 minutes or so! When it’s finished, it will be bubbling with a seriously appetizing smell filling your kitchen.


The tomatoes will be soft enough to break apart with a spoon. Squeeze the lemons to remove their juices and then discard the quarters. Toss in your pasta of choice (whole grain rotini for me) that you cooked on the stovetop while the sauce was roasting, and add a dash of freshly grated parmesan and boom! You’ve got an easy, healthy, and flavor-packed dinner, with enough leftovers for a good lunch or two while you’re at it.


Hope everyone has a great weekend — get out there and enjoy all of this Spring loveliness! We will miss this little face while we’re gone, but we hear she’s going on her own vacation to visit Nana and Papa – no hijinks, Coco!

Coco 041712

PS: Another shawl design in the works currently, with a stole design to accompany it. We’re still in the sample knitting and testing phase, but I love the way the Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, in the “lapis” colorway, looks like railway routes against the backdrop of my London public transportation bag from Three Bags Full:


Want a sneak peek at the design?


Cables and lace and stockinette, oh my!

2 thoughts on “quick and dirty”

  1. HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND…!!!! What a pretty time of year for a visit to your alma mater…HAVE FUN…!! The recipe looks delicious…I can almost taste it while reading your blog…! Did Coco kind of get the idea of getting behind the wheel from her “aunt”…? Yes, I thought so…smile!! Be safe out there, and have a great weekend…oh yes, the lapis is gorgeous..can’t wait to see the finished product…! XO

  2. Anything with tomatoes has to be delicious, and your sauce looks amazing.
    I also like the shawl very much too. That is because I love cables and lace, and even though blue is not my color, that really is a gorgeous blue. I am sure your finished shawl will be wonderful. They always are. 🙂

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