Spaghetti alla Puttanesca loosely translates to “whore’s spaghetti.” No, seriously. Apparently, the Italian prostitutes used to prepare this dish in brothels to either attract clients or to eat in between (ahem) appointments. No one really knows exactly, but what we do know is that spaghetti alla puttanesca has a rather unfortunate name.
To switch it up a bit, I decided to make puttanesca-stuffed tomatoes, a super simple recipe that includes items that are probably already in your pantry. What? You don’t have anchovy paste on hand? For shame! There’s nothing subtle about this dish and that’s the beauty of it. It’s spicy, salty, and kind of smelly. Maybe that’s why it’s called “whore’s spaghetti!” Who knows? So here’s to slutty-stuffed tomatoes, and here’s hoping that the saying “you are what you eat” doesn’t apply. Don’t my tomatoes look rather coquettish? So plump and all that rouge. Those hussies.
2 large tomatoes (I used heirlooms)
½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2/3 cup canned crushed tomatoes (San Marzano are the best)
¼ cup whole wheat pearled couscous (or regular pearled couscous, or quinoa)
Freshly chopped parsley and grated Parmesan for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides, leaving the walls intact. Brush tomatoes with olive oil and set on a baking sheet.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté the olives, capers, anchovy paste, and garlic in some olive oil for about a minute or two. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, red pepper, and oregano and continue to cook for another few minutes. Add the dried couscous and some freshly chopped parsley and stir to combine.
Fill the tomatoes with the puttanesca sauce. Bake for 25-30 minutes, and sprinkle with Parmesan during the last 5 minutes. (If using quinoa or another grain instead of pearled couscous, you may need to bake the tomatoes a bit longer.) Serve with a side salad and enjoy!