This is more of a concept than a recipe, but first a little soap and
Puttanesca: a type of sauce to top any kind of pasta, the exact translation
is “whore’s spaghetti”. The origin of why it is called that is unknown
exactly, but there is one good working theory that is most often accepted.
This sauce is so fragrant that it lures a person just as the “ladies of
pleasure” would lure a man to the state-owned brothels that once existed in
Italian villages. This is a tomato- and olive oil-based sauce. In Italy
still today, most grocery shopping is done at open air markets. Fresh
vegetables and fresh meats were/are not available to buy in bulk and stores
as we do here in the states, for the most part. Shopping is not always a
daily option, especially for the lower classes. So, this sauce is a creation
of whatever you have on hand. There are no set ingredients as the concept of
this sauce is strictly based on what is available. This is a very flavorful
The concept of a “Puttanesca Dinner” is to use the same idea of multiple
ingredients with no limit or restrictions, only on a larger scale. This is
great for a rehearsal dinner, especially a large one, or a dinner party.
Best of all, it is so very easy and inexpensive to pull together. I would
suggest that to get the biggest bang for your buck, you only plan this for
10 or more guests. Otherwise, you have a lot of waste.
I chose this idea for Nick and Phyllis on Y&R because both are fiery and
made up of a lot of different dynamics. Each has a lot to bring to the table
(no pun intended) as a couple and as individuals. Also, recently when they
married in Genoa City, there was a lot of emphasis on their rehearsal
dinner, something you do not see often in daytime drama weddings.
The Puttanesca Dinner
Plan to set up buffet style. Remember, amounts and variety should be based
on the amount of guests. Feel free to email me at
email@example.com if you feel you need help judging. I am writing
this based on 18-20 guests.
At one end of your table, provide 4 large pots or warming containers of
cooked pasta. Leave pasta in the water and provide tongs or a
pasta/spaghetti spoon for each pot, so that guests can remove their choice
of pasta. Use variety!!! A spaghetti noodle, a small noodle like a bowtie or
penne, a flat noodle, or perhaps a linguine or fettuccini (I like to use a
florentine; it adds character) and I always have Gnocchi available (Gnocchi
is a small potato dumpling available on the shelf next to your dry pastas).
In large to medium bowls lined down the table, provide a variety of cooked
and prepared meats (if you have the budget), vegetables, and cheeses.
Diced or sliced chicken breasts, ground beef, shrimp, Italian Sausage, and
Onions- fresh and caramelized, Mushrooms - fresh and sautéed, artichoke
hearts, green and black olives, steamed broccoli, sautéed squash and
zucchini, roasted red peppers, bell peppers
Other items & Cheeses: Pine nuts, capers, *see recipe* bruschetta, crushed
red peppers, fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, parmesan, Romano, bacon
crumbles, fresh herbs
Always offer a basic marinara and alfredo, as well as other options.
However, narrow your sauce choices down to no more than four, such as meat
sauce, pesto sauce, creamy tomato, fra Diablo (spicy tomato). Always have
olive oil available.
You never want to give guests too many choices, even though that is the idea
of the above party. Provide a large bowl of either a Mediterranean salad, or
a classic Caesar, and a large basket of a nice crusty Italian bread (a lot
of people do love garlic bread). People tend to really fill up when you
serve pasta this way because they get excited about being able to create
exactly what they want. Therefore, pasta, salad, bread and a small dessert
are going to be plenty for your guests. They will leave your party or
get-together full and happy. This is also a very sociable way to eat,
especially if most of your guests don’t know each other. People who
otherwise would have no idea what to say can discuss their flavor
combinations. Also, people appreciate being given the opportunity to
experiment with ingredients and ideas that may go unknown to them.
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