Pasta Puttanesca





Hello! How was your weekend? :D

Ben and I had what’s become a pretty standard Saturday and Sunday around these parts. I can’t remember a stretch in time over the past couple of years where we’ve had this many weekends in a row with no travel plans or prior commitments, and we’re loving laying low before the madness of the summer begins.

Happy hour on Friday’s usually rolls into catching up on our DVR Saturday morning (this season of Khloe & Lamar is cracking my ‘ish up!) over bowls of cereal. I’m currently obsessed with Quaker Whole Hearts. It’s really crunchy and sweet, but only has 6g of sugar per serving. Stupendous!

Afternoon errands come next, including a mandatory stop at Costco for “lunch” where I’ll undoubtedly run into a reader just as I am stuffing my face with a pork tenderloin sample (sorry!) Target or Walmart’s next where I usually find myself spending money on things I don’t really need like nail polish just because it’s on sale. (Hello $5 Essie!)

The past couple of weekends my parents have been babysitting Finn in the afternoon, so Ben and I usually swing by to say hello, make banana ice cream, and build pillow forts before heading home to chill for the night. :)

Sundays? Well, after prepping dinners for the week, not vacuuming, and indulging in either a Tabatha Takes Over, Restaurant Impossible, or House Hunters marathon, or toggling between all three, Ben and I will make an early supper together. This week – Pasta Puttanescaaaa!


Last week I was surfing Pinterest (shocking!) when I spotted a bright, beautiful plate of pasta out of the corner of my eye. I knew even before I clicked that it was a Pioneer Woman photo. I love how her pictures of food feel effortless, stand out in a crowd, and are are totally mouthwatering to look at.


At any rate, I clicked over and indeed, it was her recipe for Pasta Puttanesca!


Pasta Puttanesca is a Southern Italian pasta dish that combines mixed olives, anchovies (don’t you dare click that red x!) parmesan cheese, garlic and red onion for an incredibly flavorful dish that’s inexpensive, but totally impressive.


Start by chopping a heaping 1/2 cup mixed olives. The Pioneer Woman used a mortar and pestle to mash them up, but I just chopped them finely with a knife. A food processor would be great too.

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Next, finely chop four anchovy filets. Anchovies are not fishy tasting. At least none that I’ve ever had. They just taste briny and super savory. You’d never know they were in this pasta dish, but are needed to achieve the correct Pasta Puttanesca flavor, ya dig?


Meanwhile, Ben crumbled up 4 ounces of parmesan cheese,



while I got the rest of the ingredients ready for the pasta. 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes (wellll, maybe a little less – they’re so poppable!) and 1/2 sliced red onion.


From here the dish came together in less than 10 minutes. Add 8 ounces bucatini to boiling, salted water.


Bucatini is a hoot. It’s basically hollow spaghetti and when you slurp the strands up, wind whistles through ’em like a straw. So much fun!


While the pasta cooks, brown the red onion in olive oil.


Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple minutes until they’re slightly softened.

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Pour in 3/4 cup chicken broth then let it reduce for a couple more minutes, before adding in the chopped olives, anchovies, and 2 garlic cloves.


Finally, pour in the cooked and drained pasta, and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.


Then top with the parm and toss.


Swirl onto a plate, sprinkle with fresh basil and slurp away!


This is a FABULOUS meatless main! The flavor of the olives and anchovies is so satisfying, and the tomatoes & basil were the best fresh contrast.


Ben and I both slurped this up (and giggled like 10 year old at the whistling pasta.) ;)


Yet another win for the Pioneer Woman! Ben gets excited every time I make one of her recipes. They’re always such crowd pleasers, and are so easy to whip together. The woman can do no wrong!

Click here for the recipe >

In other news, who am I kidding? I’m off to vacuum.

Have a great night! ;)


What “celebrity chef” do you cook similar to?

I adore Giada di Laurentiis, The Pioneer Woman and the Barefoot Contessa for their easy recipes that call for readily accessible and fresh ingredients. I totally identify with that type of cooking!


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  1. Ditto on all 3!!!! I also love Alton Brown’s recipes!

  2. Christine 02.26.2012

    This is pretty funny – I did the EXACT same thing Thursday. Right down to surfing Pinterest, seeing the Pioneer Woman’s photo, getting a craving for puttanesca, making it (with all trader joes ingredients), and blogging about it ( Small (foodie) world! Hope it was delish!!!

  3. You had me at pasta…

  4. Denise 02.26.2012

    With anchovies, is it technically meatless?

    Looks good either way :)

    • Jim 02.27.2012

      That’s exactly what I was thinking…

  5. i am not a puttanesca person (not an anchovy or olive fan), but i swear, the pioneer woman… and YOU!… can mean make anything look worth a shot!!

  6. Kim 02.26.2012

    I vacuumed today as well, and it took a lot of pep talks to get it done. BTW, I made those peanut butter cookies with the Reese’s stuck in the middle. I teach middle school band so they are our reward for a very successful music festival last week. Anyway, those things are sinfully delicious.

  7. Chelsey T. 02.26.2012

    I pinned this recipe too earlier this week! Looks so good.

  8. thatShortchick 02.26.2012

    I haven’t seen that whole hearts cereal – I will now be on a mission to find a box. I’m in need of adding a new cereal to the rotation!

  9. Kim 02.26.2012

    Just made your stuffed shells for dinner they were ah-mazing! Totally going to make this for the next big family dinner! Thank you for all the great work that you do!

  10. I love that cereal!! I cook like my Mom ( my celebrity cook).

  11. Lauren 02.26.2012

    $5 Essie!! Get out of town!! :)

  12. That pasta dish looks delish! I just pinned it and plan on making it very soon.

  13. I’ve never seen that Whole Hearts cereal, but I love all cereal so I think I need to try it :-)

    I love Giada and Ina Garten – I’ve never tried any of the Pioneer Woman’s recipes, but I’ve heard so much about her. I want to try one soon!

  14. JV 02.26.2012

    I also enjoyed the whiskey pork at Costco this weekend; however, it wasn’t me who caught you mid-bite . :)

  15. Ruth 02.26.2012

    the clearance sales get me too. A couple weeks ago it was the fall candles at Wal-Mart.

  16. I just pinned that recipe as part of my no meat challenge for Lent, so I am glad you liked it!!

  17. Rachel 02.26.2012

    Ha–I made the Pioneer Woman’s Mocha Brownies this afternoon! The pasta would’ve been healthier. :)

  18. Tjs has the best cheese!!!! That was so funny you said ‘do not click the red x.’ I was just about to! I can’t stand even the site of anchovies, but I was forced to stay, and the plate looks delicious. Thanks for draggin me in. Maybe I’ll try them sooner rather than later :)

  19. karenc 02.26.2012

    I was shocked to see Essie the other day at Walgreens – it was full price tho. I purchased a beautiful tangerine shade for summer…but now WalMart for $5.00 – what’s this world coming to?????!!!!! Fantastic! I’ll have to give it a shot before the next snow/ice day hits Tuesday AM!

  20. Emily 02.26.2012

    What a fun pasta shape!!!

  21. You hit my top 3! Love Giada and Barefoot Contessa for their simple and short ingredient lists. That pasta looks insanely delicious!

  22. Sorry IGE, I love you, but this recipe is NOT meatless. :-(

  23. Jen 02.27.2012

    hey! how many frozen bananas did you put in the mini food processor? We have that size and I’ve been wanting to use it for banana ice cream since ice cream for two is a disaster in our blender. I was unsure if it would work until seeing this post!

  24. um…what was the recipe?????

    I got completely distracted by 5 DOLLAR ESSIE!!!!!
    Holey Moley girl – awesome!!!

    xoxo from Trinidad

  25. Birds Nest 101 02.27.2012

    Ahhhhh this looks like a dish my inlaws and my parents would love! I wish they were coming for dinner this weekend because I would make this, I will tuck it away for another time. Instead breakfast is on the menu!

  26. Teresa K. 02.27.2012

    Jacques Pepin and Lydia B. from Lydia’s Italy – especially Jacques’ quicky 1/2 hour meals – how does he do it? I can never chop as quickly as he does – soooo amazing. I just love Lydia’s travels mixed into her show and oh man – can you imagine eating at her house? Maybe the ranch in Italy?

  27. Randi 02.27.2012

    YUMMO!!! I bought the stuff for this pasta this weekend. I saw the recipe on her blog last week. I loved it!!! Awesome that you enjoyed it too.
    I like Giada and Rhee too, Barefoot Contessa I could take or leave…

  28. Tracy 02.27.2012

    Do you do anything with the remaining anchovies in the can?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.27.2012

      I froze them! Now that I think about it though, I should have chopped them all up then froze…oh well!

  29. Michelle 02.27.2012

    Ellie Krieger; Bethenny Frankel; YOU; Pioneer Woman :D

  30. Amanda 02.27.2012

    I bought the Whole Hearts cereal on Saturday….box half gone already! Can’t just eat one bowl! Love!

  31. jill 02.27.2012

    i love pioneer woman!!! i have to confess, i saw your post for the stuffed shells and got the craving!! But it sounded too much like spaghetti and meat sauce recipe….soooooo i looked up some recipes and the pioneer woman had a recipe that sounded just right! It was awesome…lots of cheese, wine, italian sausage, fresh herbs, homemade sauce. I actually started the sauce a couple hours before supper time to allow it time to simmer and become Perrrrrfect!! Just a suggestion if you ever want a stuffed cheesy shell recipe. YUM!!

  32. […] RIP Whole Hearts. […]

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