Man alive. I just had a really nice chat with some of my favorite bloggers, and my head is spinning. Facebook fans, Instagram, Snapchat, engagement metrics, cookbooks, employees, video. I can’t do it all. Can we just hang out here, on this website I’ve built for you all? Can we just sip some wine and make a couple dinners together each week, and correspond about them in the comments? That sounds marvelous.
Now seems like a good time to check in with you. I’ve been trying to keep my head above water with the cookbook and blog combined, but soon, I will be back to blogging full-time. I can’t wait!
So, what would you like to see here? More recipes? If so, what kinds of recipes? Would you like cooking videos? My little brother could help me with those. Maybe some more non-food links that have inspired me lately? What would you like to see on Instagram stories (we’re cookieandkate)? Behind the scenes blogging/cookbook work, Cookie pics, me falling out of yoga poses, something else? I am all ears. Your support lets me do what I love for a living, so I always want to hear from you!
Today, I’m sharing a recipe that I tweaked just a little from a new cookbook called Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation by Alexandra of Delish Knowledge. Alexandra is a registered dietitian of Italian descent who came up with over 100 healthier, vegetarian Italian recipes for the book (70 of the recipes are vegan/easily vegan). I dog-eared a lot of pages, many of which will be perfect for cooler weather.
This spaghetti alla puttanesca recipe popped out to me because it’s a lighter pasta dish that calls for mostly basic pantry ingredients. We can all use a few more of those recipes, right? I hadn’t heard of pasta alla puttanesca before. Rumor has it, “ladies of the night” created this recipe as a quick meal to eat on busy nights, if you get my drift. Wikipedia has a few more naming theories.
This dish relies on some very briny ingredients for flavor, so if you aren’t a fan of olives and capers, this one is probably not for you (more pasta recipes over here, though). I love Kalamata olives and have mixed feelings about capers, but loved them both in this recipe. Spaghettia alla puttanesca traditionally includes anchovies, but this vegan version goes without anchovies and it’s still loaded with complex flavor.
I made just a few adjustments to Alexandra’s recipe—added a little olive oil and black pepper, used chunky tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes (I like my pasta on the saucy side), and threw in some zucchini noodles to lighten it up. Ever since Ali sent me her Inspiralizer, I can’t resist adding zucchini noodles every time I make pasta. Cookie loves them, too.
- 1 large (28 ounce) can of chunky tomato sauce (I recommend Muir Glen brand) or diced tomatoes
- ⅓ cup chopped Kalamata olives
- ⅓ cup capers
- 1 tablespoon Kalamata olive brine (from your jar of olives)
- 1 tablespoon caper brine (from your jar of capers)
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt, if necessary
- 8 ounces whole grain spaghetti, or an equivalent combination of spaghetti and zucchini noodles (I used 6 ounces spaghetti and one 8-ounce zucchini, spiralized)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, olives, capers, olive bring, caper brine, garlic and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from heat, and stir in the olive oil and almost all of the chopped parsley, reserving some to sprinkle on the finished bowls. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt, if necessary (the sauce was already plenty salty for me, so I didn't add any salt).
- While the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook your spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and return it to the pot.
- If you're adding zucchini noodles, spiralize the zucchini with a spiralizer (here's how), or turn the zucchini into noodles with a julienne peeler, or grate the zucchini the long way on a large box grater.
- Once all of your components are ready, pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine. Stir in the zucchini noodles, if using (if you plan on having leftovers, store extra zucchini noodles separately, as they leech water once they come into contact with salty ingredients). Divide into individual bowls and top each bowl with a light sprinkle of parsley. Serve immediately.
Make it gluten free: Use all zucchini noodles, or substitute your favorite gluten-free pasta.