Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Spaghetti Alla Putanesca & 2 Bottles of Red Wine

[Above: sauce 15 minutes into reduction.]
You will need:

1 tin of anchovies
2 cloves of garlic
Birds eye chillies, red or green
About a dozen salty olives (stone in) - Moroccan dry could be good
Olive oil

2 bottles of poor quality red wine

Hail Hungry Muthafuckas,

I am about to share with you some (not very) secret knowledge. You will thank me forever. This really is the best pasta dish you can make, and it will freak your mind the fuck out. It is cheap, it is possibly a bit nutritional and most importantly if you cook this - and you fucking cook it right - you will definitely score with a lady, or if you are a lady - a man (or another lady) - or if you are a man another man, or perhaps a lady and a man. In a jacuzzi.

So first: your look. I like to wear black from head to toe when I start fucking about with pasta dishes. A man in black and spaghetti. Maybe a little music, perhaps some David Crosby. Probably not. Let's cook.

Firstly, heat up some olive oil in a large pan, now finely chop up 2 cloves of garlic and 2 birds eye chillies and chuck 'em in the oil. It is time for the secret ingredient - anchovies. God was playing fucking hardball when he invented the anchovy. They really are the most useful little guys. You can add them to loads of things, a beef stew, roast lamb, and the great thing is they won't make everything taste fishy - just salty. So fear not the anchovy fish pussies, just reach into that tin and grab four of the hairy little scamps and add them to the oil and chillies. Oh God. Once the anchovies have started to dissolve add a glug of red wine. NB The kind of people I really can't stand are the kind of people who have a few unfinished bottles of wine lying around. I am not one of those people. You don't have to be either. This is why you have bought two bottles of wine. Open the first bottle of wine and pour a few glugs in the pan. You can now drink the rest of the first bottle of wine whilst you do the fucking cooking. Have the 2nd bottle after dinner. This might be a good time to send your dining partner out to the shops if they would like a drink. Once the wine is bubbling enthusiastically, add the tinned peeled tomatoes. You now have the makings of a good tomato sauce, just stone a bunch of salty sailor olives and chuck 'em in.

It is now time for the fucking 'reduction.' I recently saw an interview with Kylie Minogue where she mentioned a '20 minute reduction' on a tomato sauce. What she means is cook the sauce over a medium heat until it 'reduces'. All this talk of 20 minute reductions makes me like Kylie more. Though i'd give it about 23 minutes.

The key to Spaghetti Alla Putanesca is simplicity. There are several variations - you can add tuna, capers, and red pepper, but purists usually insist upon the garlic, anchovies, chilli, olives version. The purists are right. You are looking to achieve a 'primordial' holy trinity of rich concentrated tomato, saltiness and chilli heat. The sauce is now bubbling away - drink some fucking wine. Cooking is essentially about chopping stuff up and heating stuff up. As I've said before - to the point where people have said to me, "Actually, you have said that before?" - cooking is not a black art. Now get a pan of water on the boil, take it easy, there's no need to panic.

Fuck, shit, boiling heads, boiling fucking oil. You've now got to make your spaghetti. Actually you don't have to make any spaghetti, and now I'm going to tell you why, because there is another world, far away from the world we live in - the world full of arseholes with superinjunctions, arseholes with superinjunctions who write newspaper columns about arseholes with superinjunctions, and arseholes writing stupid food blogs - yes, this is a world where people do useful stuff, a world of doctors, nurses, and most importantly- spaghetti makers. The spaghetti makers get the fucking spaghetti into the shops, to feed the doctors and nurses and the arseholes with superinjunctions, and of course, you. NEVER MAKE YOUR OWN PASTA.

Once the spaghetti is cooked - I prefer al dente - drain and douse liberally with olive oil, then plonk the reduced sauce on top just like Kylie does. Now finish off the first bottle of red wine and get to work on the second. Chin, chin, and bon appetite.