Pasta in our home is also a staple, third to rice and bread. My sons have it 2-3 times a week and it ranges from sweet spaghetti to white sauce with spinach to simple garlic & mushroom. And when the freezer is almost empty—we run to the pantry for possible pasta pronto ideas. And that’s how tuyo puttanesca came to be.
My permanent pantry residents include among others canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, capers, olives and olive oil or sunflower oil. This plus garlic and onions essentially make the puttanesca. But instead of anchovies, the tuyo (dried herring) provides the same kick of saltiness. If it is bottled or canned in oil—there is less fishiness, too.
This is quick and easy to make—I kid you not. And also makes for a great meal for instant company. It is as quick as boiling the pasta. In 10-15 minutes, a filling meal awaits you. You may also serve this as topping for bruschetta and sprinkle with crumbled white cheese. The tuyo, considered the poor man’s fish— is far from lowly. It’s the punch of flavor that makes this sauce, sing.
Another proof that our humble dried fish has a place in the restaurant, the tuyo-spaghetti is among the signature dishes of Fil-Am Chef Bruce Lim. Check it out when you find yourselves in the area of the Fort. http://kitchenkitchiekoo.com/2011/11/15/pinoy-food-with-a-hip-vibe/
IMPORTANT NOTE AND COOK’S TIP: If you have tuyo flakes in oil, bottled or canned—drain it first. Although there may be more flavor in the oil, we don’t want any sign of fishiness to get into the sauce. The sauce in its simplicity must stay clean and the ingredients complementary to one another, not overpowering each other.
- 2 T olive oil
- 4 large segments of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, minced
- 3 T capers, minced
- ¼ c sliced green olives
- ¼ c sliced black olives
- 1 can whole/stewed tomatoes (400 gms)
- 1 c tomato sauce
- 150 gms tuyo (roughly almost a cup, but not packed)
In a pan, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil till soft. Add capers and olives and stir for a minute. Add stewed tomatoes, breaking it into smaller pieces as you stir, then the tomato sauce. Heat it through and finally add the tuyo flakes. Mix it well and ladle over hot pasta and serve.
You may add a last splash of extra virgin olive oil for aroma and sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley for additional flavor and color.
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