Linguine Puttanesca with Tuna – a lighter, healthier pasta dish.
Ever wonder what Puttanesca means? Well I recently found out while watching the foodnetwork channel. However the history of pasta Puttanesca has many colorful Italian folk tales. The word itself Puttana in Italian means whore. One of these such tales, suggest that a restaurant owner had many such “whore” guests come to his restaurant to eat late at night as he was about to close. As he didn’t have enough of any one ingredient to make a meal for them all, he would take everything out of his kitchen and put it together to make this Italian pasta sauce.
Another tale suggests that Puttanesca sauce was named after the term whore simply because it had everything in it and because Italians are frugal they would not throw any food away, thereby making this wonderful tomato sauce recipe. So now I’m sitting here thinking that anytime you make a pasta dish and just throw in any ingredients you have in your fridge, well that can be called pasta Puttanesca.
I was inspired to make this dish after I had a similar dish at a restaurant I’d been to recently, but I could not eat the dish because of how spicy it was, so I was determined to make my own. Don’t worry, my husband was all too happy to step in and eat the dish for me. This version of linguine Puttanesca, includes tuna. I also think this pasta dish is healthy because really there’s nothing really bad in it, other than the carbs in the noodles, but you could use whole wheat pasta for that.
And there is no cheese in this dish!
No cheese in a pasta dish?
Nope! I was thinking after I made it, that I could grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over it, but why ruin a good thing. There are lots of flavors in this dish, there are capers and olives, garlic and basil, I mean these are really flavorful ingredients. Sometimes keeping it simple is better. I tell you what made this dish better though, and you have to trust me on this, is adding some Frank’s hot sauce, not too much to make it spicy like my restaurant version, but spicy enough to make it delicious. YUM!
- 14 oz linguine or 1 package
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp capers drained
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
- 1 28- ounce can whole plum tomatoes
- 4 basil leaves torn, plus more for garnish
- 1 5 oz can tuna packed in water
- ground pepper
- salt to taste
- Frank's hot sauce optional
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the capers and olives and fry 2 more minutes.
Crush the tomatoes into the skillet with your hands and reserve the juices. Cook until the tomatoes are slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved tomato juices, the basil, and salt to taste and cook until the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. I highly recommend not adding any salt to this dish, because the capers and the olives are already pretty salty. Add the tuna, water strained, breaking it up with a fork.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water, and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and the reserved cooking water and toss. Season with pepper and garnish with more basil. Add hot sauce as preferred.