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!