pasta puttanesca

Accidental Locavore Italian Sausage

Unlike so many friends and family, the Accidental Locavore survived the hurricane with power intact. Still, my pre and post-storm strategy to start cooking down the contents of the freezer remained in place Luckily, the local bodegas were still open, providing missing ingredients as well as a destination for the apartment-weary. So what did I decide to make in the face of impending disaster? Monday night, I made Frank’s favorite, pasta puttanesca. The freezer yielded some homemade Italian sausage, the fridge had olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and Parmesan. I used up some penne from the pantry and we had a great dinner while the winds howled outside.

Accidental Locavore Orange CauliflowerNext up? There was a roasted duck from Costco (of, as the French would say, un âge certain) that I was originally just going to heat up and serve with cauliflower, probably roasted. But an earlier search through the fridge, turned up a container of Thai red curry paste. Suddenly the duck looked more interesting as Thai red curry duck over jasmine rice (also in the freezer) and the cauliflower could hang out for another day or two. We ventured out to grab some pineapple and a red pepper (gotta love NYC!) and check out the local damage from Sandy. Lots of debris, tree branches and tons of leaves, but luckily, not much more than that.

Accidental Locavore Red CurryThe duck came together really well, I sautéed it to crisp up the skin (as it turns out an unnecessary step, since it was getting stewed in the curry ) then mixed the red curry paste with coconut milk, ginger, some lime leaves and fish sauce (all from my freezer and/or pantry). I added the duck, the pineapple and red pepper, let it cook together for a few minutes and topped with fresh basil and cilantro. This was a really quick and easy way to put together a dinner in minutes, so there maybe another Costco roast duck in my future…

Tonight, we’re off to our friend Zhu Zhu’s for beef burgundy. He’s been working on this almost longer than the storm and its aftermath, so we’re anticipating another great meal! And until the power comes on for our friends downtown, our shower is open and operating!

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Recipe: Pasta Puttanesca For Friends

by Anne Maxfield on March 1, 2010

Accidental Locavore Pasta Puttanesca The first of March, must mean it’s only a few more months before we actually do get local and fresh in my neck of the woods. If you were truly  a locavore in New York, you’d starve to death, probably out of boredom. Come on, how many apples and root veggies can you eat? Humor me because this winter can’t end soon enough!

Last week for a casual dinner for friends, I made my husband Frank’s favorite pasta puttanesca with some sausage that was made by our local butcher upstate, Quattro’s (you can also find them Saturdays at the Union Square Greenmarket). The guys there are great, and although they complain about making ten different types of sausages they then go and add a new one. This one was sort of a sweet Italian one, with a lot of sage and garlic. Hope it stays in the line-up.

Put a big pot of very salted water on. While that’s heating, to get started, toss a little olive oil, the everyday kind, into a big skillet. Then, this is a trick I learned from Rachel Ray of all people, a few anchovies. You let the anchovies melt into the oil, and it gives it a great flavor. I usually add some sausage for protein, but you don’t have to. Since it’s cold and I can’t grill them, I just take them out of the casings and crumble them in the pan. Add a few cloves of minced garlic, depending on how much you like garlic, and how many cloves you feel like mincing. Then a can of Italian tomatoes and the juice. I like to use the whole ones, and crush them myself. Big spoonful of capers, which I crush a little, and a handful of chopped pitted olives. Whole Foods used to have them already pitted and chopped, but I haven’t seen them there in a while, so I just get mixed pitted ones, and chop them (pitting olives is a bore and a mess, ditto cherries), salt (but go easy), pepper, and a small amount of red pepper flakes, and you’re done. Taste and check for seasonings. Let it simmer while the pasta cooks. I like rigatoni, or as Frank calls them sewer pipes, but they’re hard to find in whole wheat, and we’re trying to be somewhat healthy. Use whatever pasta makes you happy. Drain the pasta, and mix in with the sauce. Serve with lots of Parmesan.

Side note: it probably won’t work for everyone, but this is my go-to dish when my husband is in a bad mood. Works every time!

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