Spaghetti alla puttanesca is one of my favorite Italian dishes. While the best I ever had was in Rome, I have found that the recipe never disappoints, no matter where you get it. The dish is tangy and mildly salty, and I always find myself cleaning my plate.
While thinking about what kind of recipe I wanted to highlight this week, I kept coming back to the simple and delicious combination of flavors in a puttanesca. But I did not want to do yet another pasta dish. I wanted fresh ingredients for summer, and something that wouldn’t require much cooking (because who wants to stand over a hot stove on a hot summer night?). That is how the bruschetta puttanesca was born.
In order to adapt this recipe to a bruschetta, I had to change just a couple of things that any die-hard puttanesca fan would catch. So in the spirit of full disclosure, here is what I did:
Many puttanesca recipes call for anchovy fillets, or anchovy paste. When you have the benefit of a hot pan to dissolve the anchovies, this is a wonderful ingredient for the dish. But in a raw preparation, the anchovies can be a bit much for most palates. (Plus, the anchovies lend an extra layer of salt that I didn’t feel was needed in this particular dish.) If you adore anchovies, by all means toss in two or three chopped fillets.
As with most Italian dishes, garlic is a fixture in any good puttanesca. To get around chewing on raw garlic in the bruschetta, I chose to rub the garlic onto the crusty bread. This gives every bite a beautifully fragrant garlic undertone, but it does not overwhelm the palate.
Finally, I added a small amount of balsamic vinegar to this dish, which is an ingredient that is obviously not found in any pasta alla puttanesca. As a bruschetta though, the tomato mixture needed a splash of acid, and that is exactly what the balsamic provides.
You can watch the short video (shot specifically for PJ Media) to see how simple this dish is to prepare. And you’ll have to just take our word on how incredibly delicious it is.
Next page: Check out the recipe.
Serves 6-7 people (about 3-4 pieces per person)
- 1 baguette
- 1 large garlic clove, left whole
- 2 cups of tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup of Kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon of capers, drained
- ¼ cup of basil, sliced into thin ribbons
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- a pinch of fresh black pepper
- ¼ cup of shaved Parmesan cheese (or enough for topping each piece of bread)
- Thinly slice the baguette (about ¼ inch slices), and grill or toast each piece. Note: You can often find toasted baguette slices in the supermarket if you want to eliminate the step of cutting and toasting the bread.
- Lightly rub the raw piece of garlic onto every piece of bread. (This only works if the bread is crusty, so don’t skip the step of toasting it.)
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, Kalamata olives, capers, basil and balsamic vinegar. Season with a pinch of fresh black pepper and mix together.
- Spoon the mixture over the garlic-prepped bread
- Top each piece with a shaving of Parmesan cheese.
After you’ve tasted how wonderfully these ingredients come together, you might want to try the dish on which this recipe was based. One of my favorites is this Fusilli Puttanesca.