Sunday, May 8, 2022

Time for #WFPB Pasta Puttanesca

Supposedly, you cannot make Pasta Puttanesca without anchovies, but this story proves otherwise.

I was famous among friends for my pasta marinara with mushrooms as a teenager. I figured it was because none of my friends liked to cook but they did like to eat. Be that as it may. At that time I discovered the natural way of countering the acidity of the tomatoes by adding in a julienned carrot (or two) to the recipe. The sweetness of the carrots deepens the flavor of the sauce and buffers the acidity of the tomatoes.

Anyway, I seem to be having a new Italian period in my cooking, just when I was starting to get excited about Mexican food. I will get back to the Mexican cuisine, and for now I am going wild with my Italian Renaissance on Starling Avenue in the Bronx. 

The other day, a Chinese friend stopped by for dinner, but gave me only a half our notice, and normally it takes 2 hours lead time to get Neerob to do a #WFPB meal. So we met at Neerob Restaurant and Shamim improvised a delicious soup, and for the main course, we had Rogier's Green Pasta, for I had just cooked a batch of my green sauce, and I brought it, a box of cherry tomatoes, and some angel hair pasta, and Neerob served that for the main course. The owner, Khokon tried it and loved it, and one of the other diners also sampled some of it and loved it too!

So here comes the next Italian dish, #WFPB style.


1-2 red onion and optionally a few shallots
4-8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 carrot julienned
1 bell pepper, or preferably a mix of some green, red and yellow or orange pepper.
1 pinch of hijiki and 1 pinch of wakame, rinsed
1 cup water with yondu
1 tsp Italian Herbs
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
optional a 12 Oz box of Cherry tomatoes.
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, sliced and/or some other sliced black olives
1/4 cup capers
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Optional topping: some basil leaves and some vegan parmesan.
You can have veggies on the side, zucchini, egg plant, spinach, broccoli, steamed carrots, whatever tickles your fancy.


Note: Best cooked in a skillet to help with the evaporation of the liquid.

* Cut up the onions fine.
* Smash the garlic and cut it up fine.
* Julienne one or two carrots
* Cut up the peppers, I used a quarter green, a quarter red, a quarter yellow and a quarter orange pepper.
* Briefly roast the onions with the peppers and garlic and then add the water with Yondu.
* Add in the crushed red pepper flakes.
* Once the onions are caramelized, add in the olives, the capers, and the Italian herbs, the hijiki and wakame, and then add the tomatoes. Note: you can splurge on the olives and the capers to make up for skipping the anchovies, and the pinch of hijiki and wakame imparts a bit of "sea flavor," and in general depth to the flavoring of the sauce.
* Let the whole thing simmer until some of the moisture has evaporated and you have a sauce with some substance to it.

Serve over spaghetti, or linguini, or whatever shape pasta you happen to like.