Spaghetti puttanesca is one of those great examples of pasta cookery that has fascinated both professional and home cooks since the 1950s when it was first cooked by the Italian chef Sandro Petti in response to a starving and grumpy customer’s demand of “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi” – which pretty much translates to “Take whatever rubbish you got in that kitchen and plate it up quick; I’m hungry!”
Classic puttanesca features a sugo – a sauce – made with tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, and capers which give it a tart, salty, piquant character. (The version cooked in Naples, however, eschews the anchovies for some reason.) It’s something that you could whip up in a jiffy, seeing how you just saute everything together and dump it over pasta.
To make this recipe even faster and more convenient (not to mention budget-friendly), the folks at Jeverps – makers of Excellent Pancit Canton – actually advocate the use of their Hongkong-style pancit canton (egg and wheat noodles) which cook faster than conventional pasta as well as spicy tuyo (salt-dried fish marinated with black pepper, chilli, and garlic in olive oil) instead of anchovies.
My spin on this is actually a whole lot faster: I use ramyeunsari – a packet of plain ramen noodles, no sauce or broth packets – which cooks for just three minutes. After draining, you plate them up, douse over the speedy sugo puttanesca, and you are good to go with a totally zesty meal.
- 1 packet ramyeunsari (available in many Oriental groceries; you may also choose standard ramen packets, just set aside the flavour packets for something else)
- 2 tablespoons flaked spicy tuyo
- 2 tablespoons oil from the spicy tuyo
- 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
Prepare the ramyeunsari according to package instructions. Drain well; set aside.
Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the oil from the tuyo and allow to sizzle. Add the white part of the spring onions; cook until softened and add the tuyo flakes; cook for about a minute. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the capers.
Pour the sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle over the green part of the spring onions to serve.