I haven’t traveled extensively in Italy, and the few trips that I’ve made have been limited to the more
touristic spots – Rome, Venice and Capri. I loved all of them though…and this was in no small
measure because of the wonderful food! One of my favorite Italian dishes that I would always seek
out was pasta with puttanesca sauce, which is a spicy tomato sauce spiked up with red chili flakes,
anchovies, black olives and capers. According to my friend Elisabeth over at Food and Thrift Finds,
puttanesca was named after the puttanas, or working girls as they say. Legend has it that they were
so busy with their...um...work...that they never had time to make a proper meal and just threw a
bunch of things together into a pasta sauce. Puttanesca sauce is thus all about making do with the
ingredients that you have on hand...now, that's my kind of sauce!
course). Capers are in particular are an obsession of mine...I can put them into just about anything!
For the longest time, I'd been thinking about making a risotto (another one of my favorites) with
puttanesca flavors. I did a quick Google search to see if something like this already existed...and of
course it did, courtesy of celebrity chef and Italian cuisine guru David Rocco. I adapted his recipe
very little and was very happy with the results and I'm sure that you will be too if you try it. As an
added bonus, I made parmesan tuiles for the first time, after being inspired by this video. So quick
and easy, yet such a nice touch!
Adapted from David Rocco
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
15 black olives, sliced
4 tablespoons capers, drained
1 teaspoon (more or less) red chili flakes
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomato purée
5 cups vegetable broth
Freshly grated parmesan cheese or parmesan tuiles (see video above), for garnish
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is
2. Add the olives, capers and chili flakes and give everything a nice mix.
3. Stir in the arborio rice and let it toast just a bit. Pour in the wine and stir until it evaporates.
4. Mix in the tomato purée. Cook until the rice is nice and thickened.
5. Stirring constantly, add the vegetable broth about a cup at a time. Keep stirring after each addition
until the broth is absorbed.
6. Once you've incorporated all the broth, check to make sure that the rice is somewhere between al
dente and soft (it's a matter of personal preference). Garnish with freshly grated parmesan or
parmesan tuiles and chopped fresh parsley.
Looking for some other delicious risotto recipes? Try these!