Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #27: Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca
This is our 27th cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. This one was going to be our dinner the night before the City2Surf, so we were thinking “carb-loading.” And what’s better for carb-loading than pasta? With that in mind, we chose “Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca, Crunchy Salad, Garlic Bread, and Silky Chocolate Ganache.” We made sure to watch the episode so we knew what we were in for. I was on cooking duty for this one, and I actually pulled it off in 29:49!
Substitutions: We used fettucine instead of spaghetti (simply because we already had a box of it in the pantry). We used a pinch of dried chilli instead of a fresh red chilli. For the dessert, we had an Australian mandarin rather than a true clementine. Other than that, everything was as written in the recipe.
Quick verdict: Nice! This is the perfect pre-race meal, if you ask me. My fettucine went a bit gluggy, but that’s more to do with me overcooking it and not separating the strands enough. The sauce was a different sort of puttanesca than I’m used to: the Snook normally doesn’t put tuna nor so much tomato in his version. He wondered at its authenticity but agreed with me that it was a very tasty tuna pasta regardless. The crunchy salad was better than I expected, but be warned – the recipe makes a LOT. We had heaps left over. The ganache was simple but effective, and having it with cookies and orange wedges was a nice combination. Overall we both rated it a 9.5 out of 10. It was quick to make and very tasty, but it just lacked the “wow” factor to make it a perfect 10. It’s a great weeknight meal though… or even a pre-race feast!
Read on for a photo essay of the preparation.Pre-start prep: We got out all the necessary ingredients, tools, and cooking vessels. The kitchen was clean (well, as clean as it gets) and everything wiped down and ready to go. The oven was turned on to 180C, the kettle was filled, and the food processor was fitted with the slicer disc. We had a baking sheet for the bread, a big pot for the pasta, and a frying pan for the sauce.
First up are the ingredients for the garlic bread: ciabatta, garlic, parsley, and olive oil.
Next up are the components for the crunchy salad: fennel, radishes, lemon, and olive oil.
Here are all the ingredients for the pasta: fettucine, tuna, garlic, capers, anchovies, chilli flakes, parsley, black olives, passata, and cinnamon.
Lastly, the ingredients for the dessert: 70% dark chocolate, butter, cream, clementines, and biscuits/cookies.
Pots and pans, ready to go! The baking sheet is for the garlic bread. The big pot is for the pasta, and the bowl on top is for the chocolate ganache. The frying pan is for the sauce.
We also needed the food processor for this one, with the slicing disc attachment. The bowl is for the salad, and the greaseproof paper is for the garlic bread. (Note: this bowl ended up being way too small for the salad, so I had to get a bigger one!)
And I’m off! I started by slicing up the top of the ciabatta (not all the way through the bottom).
Then I wetted a big piece of greaseproof paper, scrunched it up, and spread it out on the benchtop.
To flavour the bread, I chopped up some parsley and crushed a few cloves of garlic.
I rubbed the garlic and parsley all over the bread and down inside the cuts I’d made. Then I drizzled over olive oil.
Lastly I sprinkled on some salt and pepper.
I wrapped up the loaf in the damp paper and put it into the hot oven to toast.
Time to start the pasta! I filled the big pot with water from the kettle.
I put a large bowl over the boiling water and then added the chocolate bar (broken up) and some butter to melt.
I also added cream and then grated in the zest of a clementine.
I briefly removed the bowl to add the fettucine and some salt to the boiling water. Then the bowl went back on top.
Next I moved on to the sauce. I poured the oil from the cans of tuna into the frying pan.
Then I crushed in some garlic…
…and then added chilli, capers, and anchovies. Yum.
I finely sliced up the stems of the parsley for the sauce…
…and roughly chopped the leaves as well.
After adding the parsley stems to my pasta sauce, I gave my melting chocolate a stir.
Next I added the tuna to the sauce.
I also tore up the black olives and added them as well.
Finally I added the passata and the cinnamon to complete the sauce.
The ganache was finished so I spooned it into some small cups to serve.
I put them in the fridge to cool a bit.
Finally time to make the salad. I quartered the fennel and removed the cores.
Then I fed them into the food processor. WHIZZ!
I ended up with a LOT of fennel.
Then I sliced the radishes (including the tops) and added them as well.
To dress the salad, I added extra virgin olive oil…
…along with lemon juice…
…and salt and pepper.
Then I had to toss everything together, trying not to get salad EVERYWHERE. (Easier said than done.) The salad is done!
The pasta was well-cooked by this point, so I drained it in the sink. (Jamie simply scooped it out into the sauce, but I didn’t think it would all fit in my frying pan.)
Then I put the pasta back in the pot and poured in the sauce.
I used tongs to toss it all together.
The final step was to add the chopped parsley and stir it through.
The finished pot of fettucine alla puttanesca!
Nearly forgot the garlic bread! I pulled that out of the oven and unwrapped it. It smelled fantastic.
Here’s the completed meal of fettucine alla puttanesca, crunchy salad, and garlic bread.
And here’s the dessert of silky chocolate ganache with cookies and mandarin wedges.
Tasting notes: Everything was really tasty. I’m used to garlic bread that’s soggy with butter, but this was nicely crunchy from the olive oil. The pasta may have not been an authentic puttanesca, but it was still a damn good tuna pasta anyway. I just wish my fettucine hadn’t stuck together so much. I didn’t expect much of the salad but it was a really nice textural contract to the pasta. The raw fennel was less aniseed-y than I feared, and the pepperiness of the radishes complemented it nicely. The Snook felt that melting the chocolate over the pasta water was a nice idea, but it wasn’t practical for getting a really good rolling boil going below. (He felt that may have contributed to our sticking problem.) But overall there was nothing in the meal we didn’t like, and we had plenty of it leftover to eat after the race the next day. We both rated it 9.5 out of 10. Would make again!
Stay tuned for another recipe from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals!