Pasta Puttanesca

I now know exactly what is wrong with this country. Last night, while walking home from seeing a friend in the Village, we decided to stop to buy some groceries for dinner. Since we were walking up 8th avenue we decided to stop at Balducci’s. Balducci’s was the first “gourmet” market that combined a fishmonger, greengrocer, and butcher all under one roof. They later carried imported food and rare items not available in the chain stores. Balducci’s was synonymous with fancy food way before the slow food movement. In later years, the store was overshadowed by Whole Foods and other specialty shops.

Back to what is wrong with this country. As my wife and I approached the Balducci’s on 8th avenue and 14th street, located in a majestic old bank building, we noticed the ominous acronym in large bold type C.V.S.. A chain drug store had recently replaced a mecca for good food. A drug store had replaced a whole food store. THAT is the entire problem with this country. Our demand for expensive and often dangerous drugs has outstripped our need for delicious, nutritious food. We have gone from a people interested in wholesome lives of hard work and real food to a people desperate to restore our health with the miracle of drugs. This is devastating. We better start to right this ship before all we have left are drug stores.

There is no real great loss in Balducci’s. It was overpriced and wasn’t as good as Whole Foods. Local grocers carry lots of the same products now and the internet can supply just about any, once rare products that the most peculiar taste might desire. This is not as much of a loss for Chelsea as it is a loss for our society. We may not have needed Balducci’s anymore but did we need another CVS? How many more drugstores will be built before we get the message?

This is my wife’s Puttanesca. It is one of my favorite pastas and it can be made quite easily with food purchased at any grocery. You don’t need Balducci’s – fortunately.


  • 1 14 oz Tomato Sauce (San Marzano if you can find it) – or Whole or Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, rough chopped
  • 2 Tins Anchovies in Olive Oil, chopped (save the oil)
  • 1 lb Fettuccini or Spaghetti
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Italian Parsley


  • Large Pot
  • Sauté Pan
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Grater
  1. Warm olive oil and melt the butter in the large sauté pan.
  2. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  3. Put the water on to boil.
  4. Add the wine to the onions and let the alcohol cook off.
  5. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers,red pepper flakes, anchovies and the oil from the anchovies. Simmer for a while.
  6. When the water boils add salt and the pasta.
  7. While the pasta cooks, add oregano and salt and pepper to the sauce. Make sure to taste before adding salt. The anchovies will be salty.
  8. When the pasta is al dente add to the sauce and coat thoroughly.
  9. Garnish with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.

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