Sunday, May 17, 2009

No garlic, no onions, no pork and a Puttanesca 2009

I had a week of challenges. I subbed at a restaurant with a large catering division and put out food for 160 people in 3 hours. After completing the prep for the next day I learned that I would have to tone down the onions, garlic and portion sizes. So we adapt. If I go back I have a better sense of what they need and we got the food out in time 2 days in a row, a very good thing.

It led me to begin thinking along the lines of Italian food that naturally contains no onions or garlic and I was very fortunate that I was thinking along those lines.

I arrived at the house where I was to cook for a large group of guests for the weekend and after prepping for the first meal the hostess came to the kitchen and told me she had just found out one of her guests could not tolerate garlic or onions and not to serve pork. Of course both her Italian menu for Friday and her Spanish for Saturday featured not only the intolerable ingredients but a suckling pig. Her staff ate very well and I scrambled to redo the menu.

The antipasto was no problem, Orange and fennel, roast asparagus, etc. Not a problem there but she had asked for a Puttanesca sauce for the pasta course. What could I do, I roasted the cherry tomatoes, melted some anchovies in white wine, chopped the olives and threw it all together with some capers and a splash of some good olive oil. I grabbed a taste, acceptable and we served. The remainder of the pasta sat in the pan while the Pollock was served and after they had their sorbet I, starving at this point grabbed the now cold pasta and a fork.

Wow...what a difference time had made. The olive had permeated the pasta and the juice of the tomato released with that faint salty anchovy taste, this was really good.

Don't rush to serve this hot, let it rest and have with a glass of Rose on a warm spring night.

1 lb pasta
1 cup white wine
8 anchovies chopped
2 cups of green olives, pitted and divided
1/2 cup capers
2 cups cherry tomatoes roasted til the skins burst with a touch of salt and oil.
Your best olive oil
2 cups chopped fresh basil

Warm the anchovies in the wine, they will naturally dissolve. Cook the pasta and toss all the ingredients together with a good dose of your best olive oil until combined. Go have some vegetables and come back in an hour. Eat like you have all the time in the world and savor every flavor.

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