Experiencing a sliver of sunlight in their otherwise miserable existence since the passing of their parents, the Baudelaire orphans peruse a cookbook in the library of their kindly neighbor Justice Strauss after being given the daunting task of catering a dinner for their wicked uncle Count Olaf and his comrades. The children decide upon pasta puttanesca because it sounds entirely doable and then travel with the accommodating Strauss to market to purchase the needed ingredients with the very little money that was left them for the task.
"'Puttanesca.' It's an Italian sauce for pasta. All we need to do is sauté olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, chopped parsley, and tomatoes together in a pot, and prepare spaghetti to go with it."—Klaus Baudelaire, Chap. 3, The Bad Beginning
Found in The Bad Beginning, book the first (of thirteen) of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, pasta puttanesca is a quick and filling dish that Count Olaf was thoroughly dissatisfied with. Because he's horrible. But you won't be (dissatisfied that is. I surely hope you won't be horrible. And FYI: you can't even taste the anchovies). This pasta even made its way into the movie "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2004, based on the first three books in the series).
|Series artwork by the wonderful Brett Helquist|
Baudelaire Orphan's Pasta Puttanesca
~6 oz. Spaghetti Noodles (or "interestingly shaped noodles")
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 Can (28 oz.) Diced Tomatoes, drained, 2 Tbsp. liquid reserved.
2 Tbsp. Capers, drained
1/2 Tin (~2 oz.) Anchovy Fillets, washed, dried, & diced
1/3 Cup Kalamata Olives (Greek Olives), pitted & diced
2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Block Parmesan Cheese, finely grated (optional)
Bread Sticks (optional)
2. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté the minced garlic with the 2 Tbsp. olive oil until the garlic is golden. Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the fresh parsley & stir to combine. Simmer for about 5-6 minutes so everything is nicely heated through & the flavors are blended together. Turn off the heat & stir in the parsley & reserved 2 Tbsp. of tomato liquid. Spoon on top of noodles. Garnish with a fresh leaf of parsley, thin breadsticks, & a small amount of finely grated parmesan cheese (optional, but the parmesan especially tastes wonderful). Serve with red wine or purple grape juice & chocolate pudding for dessert.