Monday, May 30, 2011

Pasta Puttanesca

I got this from Bon Appetit via Epicurious...named for the ladies of the night from back in the mother land, Italia, it's become a hearty pasta dish for us busy folk that need a flavorful, interesting, and quickly-thrown together meal in the night time.  And I'm thankful to them for it.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28.2-ounce can peeled tomatoes in puree with basil
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved, pitted
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese


Heat oil in large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add tomatoes with puree, olives, anchovies, capers, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Simmer sauce over medium-low heat until thickened, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While the sauce is simmering away, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta; return to same pot. Add sauce and parsley to the hot pasta. Toss until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Serve with grated cheese.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coconut Banana Bread

I got this recipe (and idea for sprinkling the thick, natural Demerara sugar along the top) from Orangette. Molly, of course, got it from HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition around the World, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.


3 large, overripe bananas
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp. dark rum
½ cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut
Demerara sugar (to your sprinkled liking)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a standard loaf pan.

If using frozen bananas, make sure they are completely thawed (at least 4 hours out of the freezer...alternatively put them in the fridge the day before or overnight).

In a blender or food processor, purée the bananas. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of purée to 1 3/4 and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vinegar and rum, and beat to mix well. Add the banana purée and the flour mixture alternately, about 1 cup at a time, beginning with the banana and beating to just incorporate. Use a spatula to fold in any flour that has not been absorbed, and stir in the coconut. Be careful to not overmix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the demerara sugar. Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack or cutting board and try not to dig in while the loaf is still steaming. If you must though, I understand completely. When storing the loaf, keep in an airtight don't want it to dry out.

Makes 1 loaf.