Sunday, October 31, 2010
This morning Nigella Lawson opened up her cooking show, Nigella Kitchen, by making a recipe called Slut's Spaghetti. Nigella's Slut's Spaghetti is her take on an Italian classic, Pasta Puttanesca, which Nigella mentions is translated in English as "pasta cooked in a whorish fashion." Nigella explained the reasons behind the name of the dish and went on to say that she preferred to call her version simply "Slut's Spaghetti. When Nigella finished making the spaghetti, she plated it, and took the entire dish to bed with her. I love that woman!
I already had a recipe in mind for this month's Food 'n Flix movie, Mystic Pizza. While watching Nigella I had a change of heart. I stopped writing the post and got up to make Nigella's Slut's Spaghetti. What better reason to make Slut's Spaghetti than for the girls of Mystic Pizza? After all, the movie is all about three young-spirited girls who definitely are crazy about men! A classic 80's movie all about coming of age, learning about yourself, life, and naturally, lots of heartbreak. Typical young girls who I'm sure would love this pasta just about as much as they loved their men.
Nigella Lawson's Slut's Spaghetti - recipe adapted from Food Network
Well, how could I resist this translation of pasta alla puttanesca, whore's pasta as it usually is described in English? The general consensus seems to be that this is the sort of dish cooked by slatterns who don't go to market to get their ingredients fresh, but are happy to use stuff out of jars and cans. I hold my hands up to that. Or maybe one should just attribute the name gamely to the fiery tang and robust saltiness of the dish? But, anyhow, what better recipe to start off this section devoted to the fruits of the larder.
Please fire up the sauce if you want, but do know that even though the first mouthful might seem not quite hot enough, the heat builds as you eat. I sometimes go a little cross-cultural in my chili-case and use hot pickled jalapenos from a jar found on the Tex-Mex shelves of the supermarket. And while you're there, do look out for the tiny French nonpareil (or nonpareilles) capers: they may be smaller, but they pack more of a pungent punch than the larger capers.
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 8 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced, crushed or grated
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or 1 to 2 tablespoons jarred or canned jalapeno peppers (preferably red), drained, sliced, and diced, or to taste
* 1 pound spaghetti
* 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 1/4 cups chopped drained pitted black olives
* 2 tablespoons small capers, well rinsed and drained
* 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish, optional
* Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water, for the pasta, to a boil over medium heat, though you don't need to get started on the sauce until the water is pretty well boiling.
Pour the oil into a wide, shallowish frying pan, Dutch oven, or wok, and put it over medium heat.
Add the anchovies and cook for about 3 minutes, pressing and pushing with a wooden spoon, until the anchovies have almost "melted". Add the garlic and red pepper flakes or jalapenos and cook, stirring, for another minute.
This is probably the stage at which you will want to salt the boiling water and adding the spaghetti to cook, following the package instructions.
Going back to the sauce, add the tomatoes, olives, and capers to the pot with the anchovies and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and again, by which time it will have thickened slightly. Taste for seasoning.
Just before the pasta is ready, remove and reserve about an espresso cupful of cooking water.
When the pasta is cooked as desired, drain and add the spaghetti to the tomato sauce, adding a little reserved pasta water, if needed, to help amalgamate the sauce. Scatter with chopped parsley, if there's some to hand, and serve in slatternly style, preferably with an unfiltered cigarette clamped between crimson-painted lips.
Make Ahead Note:
The sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer the sauce to a nonmetallic bowl to cool, then cover and refrigerate as soon as possible. Reheat gently in large saucepan, frying pan, or wok, stirring occasionally, until piping hot.
The cooled sauce can be frozen in a resealable container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat as above.
Notes/Results: Big love to Nigella Lawson and the girls of Mystic Pizza for making me laugh and smile. I enjoyed watching Mystic Pizza back in the day, just as much as I enjoy watching it now. It will always be one of those classic 80's movies. It seemed fitting to combine Nigella with the girls of Mystic Pizza since all of these ladies are good at saying exactly what's on their mind. I did make one change to the recipe, based only on the fact that I was also feeding a male slut. I added one pound of ground beef. Otherwise I kept the recipe the same. It was perfectly vulgar with flavor and a very satisfying dish. A gutsy pasta recipe that best represents both Nigella and the girls of Mystic Falls.
Head on over to Food 'n Flix, a monthly celebration of movies and food. Next month's movie is going to be The Ramen Girl!