Puttanesca and The Bad Beginning
This week we began at The Bad Beginning and made Puttanesca Sauce, just like the Baudelaires. Which turned out to be a very Good Beginning after all.
Our Series of Unfortunate Cooking Classes begin where the book series begins, at The Bad Beginning. Lemony Snicket warns us on the very first page, "in this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle."
Happily for us, Puttanesca Sauce is one of the few happy things. In the book, the Baudelaire children work together to purchase all the ingredients and make the sauce. The pleasant task of cooking together, combined with the delicious aroma of the simmering sauce, provides the children with a brief respite from the treachery of Count Olaf. As Lemony Snicket might say, if you can bear to read the entire tale of unrelenting misery and woe in this book, by the end you'll be as grateful as they were for the simple pleasures of cooking together.
Puttanesca a la Snicket
As Lemony Snicket dutifully details the gloom and treachery endured by Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, he also seems to relish describing the foods they encounter. As any child will tell you, food and drink are not just the things you consume while you are having some other experience; they are the experience. Birthday cake is part of the birthday, and Cracker Jack is part of the baseball game.
Alas, the Baudelaires had no birthday parties or baseball games at the hands of Count Olaf. But they did eat many different kinds of food, and lucky for us, Lemony Snicket has told us all about it.
The Baudelaires' Sauce
Our recipe for Puttanesca Sauce is based on the description of the sauce the Baudelaires prepare in The Bad Beginning. According to Klaus, who reads to his sisters from a cookbook, "all we need to do is saute olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, chopped parsley and tomatoes together in a pot, and prepare spaghetti to go with it."
When the children go shopping for ingredients, instead of spaghetti, they choose "interestingly shaped noodles" at a pasta shop. Unlike most Puttanesca recipes, the book tells us that Violet, following the recipe, "roasted the garlic" before it was added to the pot. So we've done the same in our recipe, with delicious results.
We drew the line at peeling the tomatoes and pitting the olives as Klaus does, however, opting instead for canned diced tomatoes and pitted Kalamata olives. And we used basil in addition to the parsley because it's delicious, and we topped it all off with shredded Parmigianno-Regianno, because, well, it's delicious.