One of the little difficulties in having a vegan food blog is deciding when to put the word “vegan” in a recipe title. Some dishes were always vegan to begin with. This is one of those dishes.
Things are not always that simple, and some original versions of Pasta Puttanesca include anchovies. Some do not. Rather than simply presenting an anchovy-less version, I took this vegan interpretation a step further by making a zingy paste out of garlic and artichokes hoping it could stand in for the anchovies, although it does nothing to play up the saltiness of the original fish-inclusive recipes.
There is also no added olive oil here, so I was especially careful not to let sour flavors overpower things, which they will do when oil isn’t there to blunt them. To this end, I began by roasting small (or plum) tomatoes in a little balsamic vinegar in the oven. The roasting (and resulting caramelization) makes things sweet, offsetting other tart flavors.
My advice is: Try this for a tasty, one-skillet MeatlessMonday main dish!
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- For roasted tomatoes:
- 1 16 oz. tub small tomatoes or 6 fresh plum tomatoes
- For flavorful tomato paste:
- 2 artichoke hearts (from a can, packed in water)
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- Other ingredients:
- ½ teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in juice
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped fresh italian parsley
- Optional: basil garnish
- Cut whole tomatoes in half and toss them in the balsamic vinegar. Place them cut-side up on a baking sheet. Roast them in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes until they begin to brown.
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
- As the tomatoes are roasting and the pasta is cooking, mix the flavorful tomato paste by combining the artichokes, garlic, water, tomato paste and sugar in a small food processor.
- Add the flavorful tomato paste to a large skillet and combine it with the red-pepper flakes, salt, pepper and crushed tomatoes, heating the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
- Add olives and capers and turn the heat down to medium, continuing to stir occasionally.
- When the roasted tomatoes come out of the oven, toss them into sauce in the skillet. Heat until everything is simmering and well combined.
- When pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the sauce and toss it well.
- Sprinkle sauce and pasta with fresh parsley and basil.
It’s vegan and it’s delicious!