Puttanesca sauce for a chicken or pasta dish can be made lower in fat and sodium in a couple of easy ways.
Puttanesca has a somewhat dodgy origin, but this colorful and tasty sauce has no trouble adapting to modern day cooking.
Definitions of the word Puttanesca point to ladies of the night, with one translation being "harlot-style".
There are a few suggestions about how it ended up being associated with women of suspect morals, including a hypothesis that a Neapolitan madam served it to entice customers to stick around.
Another suggestion is that the ladies slept during the day, not having an opportunity to shop for fresh ingredients and used items that were always well stocked in their kitchens.
Puttanesca ingredients include some or all of the following: garlic, olive oil, capers, black olives, crushed tomatoes, anchovies, crushed red pepper or peperoncino peppers, salt and pepper to taste and parsley to top it all off.
Lower fat Puttanesca results from using only a small amount of the oil listed in most recipes. Use a non-stick skillet and cooking spray.
Lower sodium Puttanesca is a product of eliminating salt and anchovies. Another way is to use canned tomatoes labeled "No Sodium Added", but for purists, just cook with fresh plum or Roma tomatoes and ignore the canned product.
Even the cast of HBO's classic The Sopranos put together a cookbook, including a recipe for Spaghetti Puttanesca.
Puttanesca a la Sopranos
1 pound spaghetti
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 small peperoncino crumbled or pinch of crushed red pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
21/2 lbs. ripe plum tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped OR 28-35 ounce can of Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup pitted and chopped oil-cured olives
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
8-12 anchovy fillets, drained
1/4 finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cook the pasta after the Puttanesca is almost done, using directions on the package or as you would for any other pasta dish. You can either add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the sauce, or pour the sauce over the pasta as you serve.
In a large skillet, cook the garlic and the peperoncino in the oil over low heat until garlic is golden. Raise the heat to medium and add tomatoes, oregano, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 15-20 minut4es or until sauce is thickened.
Stir in olives, capers, anchovies, and parsley and cook for two minutes more. Add cooked and drained pasta to sauce in the skillet and toss it well.
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 4 ounce servings. In a non-stick skillet, (use cooking spray as needed) brown the chicken breasts over medium heat, turning after 4 minutes and cooking thoroughly until nicely brown on both sides. It is recommended to use a meat thermometer and check that the chicken breasts register 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Set chicken aside and make sauce (see above). Add breasts back into the sauce to heat thoroughly before serving.
The Soprano Family Cookbook is available at Amazon.com. Image: Wikipedia