Israel meets Italy! No I’m not talking about falafel spaghetti (ew). It’s Shakshuka Puttanesca!
Okay so I Googled falafel spaghetti and it’s a real thing! Damnit. And the recipes actually look good. Real good. I went from “You couldn’t pay me to eat falafel spaghetti” to “going to the store to purchase the ingredients, do you need anything?” Damn you, Internet! (*Shakes fist!*)
I’m going to go out on a limb though (because the falafel spaghetti ingredients are still sitting on my counter) and say Shakshuka Puttanesca wins this informal Italy-Israel hybrid showdown.
If you don’t like briny things like olives, capers, and anchovies (yes, anchovies!) then you may not enjoy this version. Maybe you could enjoy my Green Shakshuka or Shakshuka with Summer Squash and Goat Cheese or Caprese Shakshuka instead! I don’t mind.
(Anchovies! Dooo it. They add a magical salty briny depth and just melts into the other ingredients. You won’t even know they are there. Kind of like the other members of Destiny’s Child.)
But let me back up a tidbit. I didn’t even explain what the heck shakshuka is! Eggs poached in a slightly spicy tomato sauce, usually sopped up with a boatload of pita bread. Oh it’s good, and a perfect canvas for creativity. And by creativity, I mean cheese. Yes, lots of cheese is a necessity too. This one is topped with fresh ricotta, and in place of pita is a chewy baguette.
I didn’t explain puttanesca either! Puttanesca literally means “of the whore’s”. Hehe. Some say the dish was composed by seaside Italian prostitutes throwing available ingredients in their sauce. Others say all the bold flavors make the tasty sauce, but also one that is quick and dirty to prepare (get it?) And I won’t even mention any of the references to the salty, fishy taste. Annnyway.
Another fun factoid about this dish: it’s the world’s perfect hangover food. That’s a fact, not opinion. But good try arguing. Think about it, it’s a bloody Mary in food form. Minus the alcohol (that can be on the side). Something about the acidic tomatoes, greasy cheese and carby, well, carbs, and you can wave your hangover goodbye. Or just pair with a mimosa for a hang on! Your choice.
I was inspired to make this dish by a hectic last few weeks. I was totally going to detox until SXSW but that lasted about as long as a cold front in Austin. About 6 hours. I mean it’s not my fault the 80 degree weather last Saturday coincided with a brewery tasting! Not my fault at all.
This should make 3-4 servings, but if it makes just one, I get you.
No need for plates or silverware, eat her right out of the pan with bread. I like to use my giant Le Creuset for the job. Barberic is the new classy. Spread the word.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ large white onion, small diced
- 1 bel pepper (any color Jew like), small diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (yes really!)
- 1 can anchovies, diced
- 2 tablespoons capers
- ¼ cup kalamata olives or a mix, diced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 6 eggs
- ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
- Fresh parsley for garnish
- Crusty bread for dipping
- In a large sauté or cast iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and sauté your onion and pepper for 3-4 minutes or until slightly soft. Add in garlic, anchovies, capers and olives and sauté for 1 more minute. Anchovies should melt into the other ingredients.
- Then add red pepper flakes and stir. Then in the tomatoes and lemon juice and zest and simmer uncovered until thick, about 10-15 minutes.
- Crack eggs one at a time into a ramekin and gently pour each one into the an egg sized hole you make in the shakshuka, evenly spaced around the pan. This method helps the eggs keep their shape. Cover with foil and cook for 5-7 more minutes just until the egg whites are set. Cook longer if you want the yolks set too.
- Dollop with ricotta cheese, garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread!