When I was in high school, I went to the same restaurant for lunch every thursday. I always sat in the same booth, and I always ordered the Penne Puttanesca. I love the tangy tomato sauce with the salty capers and the briny olives. I would smother my pasta in parmesan cheese and finish the leftover sauce by spreading it onto half a loaf of french bread. Now, while I will not sit here and pretend that I don't do the exact same thing when I go out to eat now, I will say that I have lost my teenage metabolism and do strive to lighten it up now and then. This puttanesca that I present to you tastes almost exactly like that dish I remember so fondly- only it is carb and anchovy free. Which means that now I can eat that half loaf of french bread without thinking twice.
I know I previously said that I don't consider zucchini noodles to be an adequate substitute for pasta, but I was wrong. I was so wrong. Today I've learned that it's all about the sauce, man. I've made a pretty vast range of sauces to cover my zucchini noodles in the past- alfredo, creamy red pepper, lentil marinara, pesto- and while it all tasted good, it just never felt as satisfying to me as a big ass bowl of pasta. I do not know what the difference is here today, but I have half of this puttanesca left over and I am so satisfied that I am actually leaving it for my lunch tomorrow. It's salty, briny, tangy, spicy, texturally pleasing, smells amazing. I dunno. It just works. It is really damn good, and I am so excited to share it with you.
Serves: technically makes 4 servings, but it's zucchini which means it's less filling than real pasta so let's call it 2 servings, shall we?
Cook time: 10 minutes (no joke)
• 3 zucchini, julienned. (as mentioned in my last zucchini noodle post, you'll only want to use the firmer parts. stop peeling once you've reached the seedy, softer center)
• 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (I use the "fire roasted" flavor)
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• Half a large sweet or white onion, diced
• 1 1/2 heaping tsp capers
• 2 heaping tbsp kalamata olives, sliced thinly
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
Optional toppings: red pepper flakes, fresh basil, shaved parmesan
• In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
• Add garlic and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
• Add diced tomatoes, and heat for a minute, stirring occasionally. Then add olives and capers, and stir to combine. Let simmer for 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
• Next, add the zucchini in bunches. It'll seem like too much zucchini at first, but as it cooks, the zucchini will release its' moisture and get smaller. Keep adding and stirring continuously until all of the zucchini has been incorporated. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute, or until all of the zucchini is coated in the sauce and heated through. It should still have a bite to it.
• Remove from heat, top with desired optional toppings of choice, serve hot, and enjoy :)
Hi! I'm Shantal.