For those of you who've never heard of Puttanesca Pasta, it's an Italian pasta dish that's traditionally made with black olives, capers, tomatoes, garlic, chili pepper, and anchovies. Now, for those of you who don't like any of these things, feel free to skip this and go on to the next recipe on my blog. BUT, please consider this when I say, "have an open mind," because my keto/paleo version of this dish is to die for!!
Puttanesca Pasta is my favorite pasta dish. Truth be told that my intent to create a clean version of this Italian gem is genuinely fueled by love and admiration. The first time I tried Puttanesca was in Italy in 1998. I was dining outdoors at a tiny cafe. The sun was barely setting, and I decided to order what appeared to be the most appetizing plate on the menu. Sure enough, my Tuna Puttanesca was delicious. I felt so fancy sipping on my Chianti and eating a plate of the authentic Italian pasta. Unfortunately, I can't even remember if I was in Rome, Florence, or Venice. Either way, at that specific moment, I was in love with life. I've had Puttanesca in the US only a few times. Every time I've had it, I've only seen it served with either shellfish or anchovies. I figured if I ever wanted to relive that nostalgic moment of Italian culinary artistry, I would just have to make the Tuna Puttanesca myself. And because I'm way healthier now than I was 20 plus years ago, a paleo/keto version of this dish is the only way to create it! Quick note: whenever I recreate a "classic" dish, I always research the origin of it and its history. According to Wikipedia the term, "Pasta alla putta'neska" means "pasta in the style of a whore." If this doesn't get you intrigued in preparing this dish, I'm not sure what will!
TIME: 30 MINUTES YIELDS: 4 SERVINGS
1 4-6 lb spaghetti squash (medium-large size), sliced in half lengthwise with the seeds pulled out 2 cans of tuna, drained and smashed up 2 cups of tri-colored heirloom or grape tomatoes 5 garlic cloves, minced 1 small yellow onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup black olives - sliced 1/2 cup green olives - sliced 1/2 cup capers 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan Salt, divided 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon of chili flakes (depends on your heat tolerance). Zest and juice of one lemon 2 cups fresh spinach, chiffonade
METHOD 1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Prepare the spaghetti squash as listed. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and an 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper on each half. Place spaghetti squash on a non-stick sheet pan face down. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the skin gets soft.
3. While the spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare and chop all of the ingredients as listed above.
4. Place a saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan gets hot, add the oil. Allow the oil to spread on the pan. Add the onion, tomato, bell pepper, chili flakes, and garlic. Add and dash of salt and pepper. Saute and stir until vegetables become caramelized and the tomatoes are soft. This process will take up to 12-15 minutes. It's really important to make sure that the bell peppers are soft and the tomatoes are stewed so then the mixture is as smooth as ragout.
5. Add the olives, capers, tuna, lemon zest & juice, and the remaining Himalayan salt and pepper. Mix until everything is well combined and the tuna has reached a hot temperature.
6. After the spaghetti squash is pulled out of the oven and has slightly cooled down, pull noodles out with a large serving spoon.
7. Place the tuna mixture on top of the spaghetti squash with a handful of spinach chiffonade and a few pine nuts on top. The ratio of spaghetti to Puttanesca should be a 1 to 1 serving.
Replace the spaghetti squash with chickpea pasta, Prepare the chickpea pasta prior to making the sauce.