Puttenesca for a Very Hungry Cricketer

Conundrum! You have taken nothing out of the freezer, the fridge looks disorganised and dishevelled with little promise of a tasty dinner. Half a jar of olives, a smidge of red wine that has been opened a week, a jar of chilli flakes and some lonely looking cherry tomatos. All this and an impending deadline, your boyfriend returning from  Cricket practice, famished with hunger in his eyes- the ravenous, cannibalistic ‘I’m going to chow-down on your rump’ sort of hungry!

I can feel a Fridge Raider concoction coming on. I set to work creating one of my favourite pasta dishes with the few sorrowful ingredients I have hanging out on my chopping board. I finely dice an onion, drizzle a little olive oil in a pan and begin to sauté. I add a pinch of chilli flakes (not garlic I’ve run out) and a glug of wine; at this point I turn the heat up to burn off the alcohol and reduce the liquid. Once the majority of wine evaporates I reduce the heat, throw in a bay leaf and add the cherry tomatoes. I like to keep my pasta dishes fresh especially puttanesca, show chasing all those amazing punchy flavours. However this dish is looking a little dry so I chuck in some basic’s tinned tomatoes, more fresh cherry tomatoes would be preferable.

There are so many variations of this dish. A pinch of cinnamon or tuna can be added to this recipe, I like the sauce smothered over chicken and baked in the oven. I particularly enjoy the saltiness of the capers and anchovies in the more traditional versions; however you can get a fairly good effect with even the most basic of ingredients.

I simmer the dish whilst the penne is cooking and season to taste. Once the penne is cooked I drain it and throw it into the makeshift puttanesca sauce. I squash a handful of black olives between my fingers (this feels very therapeutic) and add them to the pan. I give the dish a final stir and cover the pan with a lid. After a manic rush around the kitchen, this means spinning around in a circle, banging doors, dropping spoons and spilling milk all over the floor, I have a finished dinner for a boyfriend who is yet to arrive home. Chin in hand, fingers drumming on the table, I grow impatient.

One hour later- still no boyfriend! With bubbling ‘girlfriend rage’-the sort of rage that modern women feel when their fragmented personalities meet for a chit chat. The feminist who is strong, independent, successful who ‘will not be treated like this’ and the submissive who ‘only wants to look after her man’- I decide to have a cup of tea. Distracted by a chapter of the hunger games, my ‘cat fighting’ personalities leave me in peace and ‘girlfriend rage’ subsides. Eight thirty roles round and the ravenous boyfriend returns home; not a promise of an apology he declares he’s starving (a shocking statement) and devours a bowl of prostitutes’ pasta.


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