Anchovies are a traditional component of this classic Italian dish, but they’re optional. Shrimp, on the other hand, may not be authentic, but they’re completely at home in the spicy, briny sauce.
This recipe is easily adaptable to serve seafood-lovers and vegetarians alike: see the variation to serve one vegetarian, or check out the totally meatless version: Vegetarian Penne alla Puttanesca.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, orange zest, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it has almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, olives, and capers. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain well.
Add the shrimp and anchovies (if using) to the sauce in the skillet. Raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the pasta into the skillet and toss with the shrimp sauce. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.
To serve 1 vegetarian and 3 meat-lovers: Reduce the shrimp to 12 oz. and the anchovies to 3 fillets, finely chopped. After draining the pasta, toss about 1-1/3 cups in a warm serving bowl with 3/4 cup of the sauce. Sprinkle with one-quarter of the cheese and parsley. Add the shrimp and anchovies to the remaining sauce in the skillet and proceed as directed above, dividing the remaining pasta between 3 bowls and sprinkling with the remaining cheese and parsley.
A side of Sauteed Broccoli Raab makes a lovely accompaniment.
nutrition information (per serving):
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Photo: Scott Phillips