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Vegetarian Puttanesca for Two

Easy pasta putanesca- gluten-free with rice spaghetti.

Oh, you paint, too? is the faint, flat interest we get, we artist's wives who paint. Inevitably followed by, Isn't that difficult? In fact, I assure them, it couldn't be easier. (Try being married to a real estate agent who sprays Sun-In in his hair, I want to say, but don't.)

The scene is my husband's art opening and I play my role with decorum, clutching my plastic cup of Australian Chardonnay.

Do you compete? Darling, this question says a lot more about you than than me. No, I always answer, trying not to audibly sigh. We mutually admire. Then comes the big one. The favorite question.

Does he influence your work? (The subtext being, of course, he is the man, after all.)

I influence his, I answer, slugging down the last warm drop of wine. They will smile their awkward smile at this and wobble toward the grapes and brie. The word tedious comes to mind.

I catch my husband looking at me through the peanut nibbling crowd. He raises an ironic eyebrow. I laugh. A sparkled perfumed woman leans in to him for a kiss on the cheek. He is polite. I will tell him later he smells like Bloomingdale’s.

At home he will make me an ice cold vodka martini. We will kick off our shoes and eat spaghetti to Chet Baker. So what's on your agenda for tomorrow? he will ask. Maybe painting, I will say with a yawn. Or blogging. I'm not just an Artist's Wife, you know. 

Nope, he always says. You're the cutest girl ever.

Yeah, I remind him, You're lucky I'm a new-school feminist.

Easy Vegetarian Puttanesca Recipe

Stir together ingredients invoking passion and apparently you have a Harlot's Sauce. Perhaps wives should pay more attention to the contents of their pantry.

Fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper flakes, jalapenos, a spoon of basil pesto, and tart little caper buds create a spicy melange that will bring him or her to their knees.

1/2 package Tinkyada Pasta Joy Spaghetti
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 14-oz. can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice (Muir Glen is tasty)
1 tablespoon chopped jarred jalapenos
1 tablespoon rinsed capers
1 tablespoon basil pesto
1 generous splash balsamic vinegar
2 shakes of hot red pepper flakes

Option: add grated Parmesan for serving

Put on some jazz. Pour some Italian red.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions- just until al dente.

Do not over cook it. I mean it.

Meanwhile, pour a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil into a deep skillet and heat it gently over medium heat. Toss in the garlic and stir for a minute; add the tomatoes, jalapenos, capers, basil pesto and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Shake some hot pepper flakes in, to taste.

Drain the cooked pasta and pour it into the skillet; stir gently for a minute to coat the strands.

Serve in warm shallow bowls with torn off pieces of gluten-free focaccia to soak up any sauce left in the bottom of the bowl.

Serves 2.



  1. well, i must say, you sure create GORGEOUS photos. just look at that spaghetti. nice!

  2. Bravissima!

    My compliments to the chef!

    Karina I tried to leave this comment two days ago but my system was doing funny things and now allowing me to post comments.

    I'm glad I finally got through!

    I don't think there's anything better than a plate of pasta with a delicious sauce like this one.

    The photo is GORGEOUS!

  3. Anonymous12:54

    I would like to see a recipe for a marinera and/or a bolegnase sauce now that I have wonderful Tinkyada spaghetti.

  4. kitschenwitch17:01

    Karina -
    This is one of my favorites of yours and has become a standby for the two hungry artisans at our house. Love all your recipes and cooking by moonlight, too! ;) Your husband is lucky to be married to such a multi-talented artist. And all of us solitary souls are lucky when we find people who can see us and love us in all our humble glory.

  5. Looks like a fabulous recipe! I'm going to test it out for Meatless Monday. By the way, I linked to your site today on my environmental blog:

    Meatless Monday: Special diets

    Thanks for being such an incredible resource for vegetarian cooking!

  6. Wow, this sounds eerily like my marriage. I feel your irritation.

  7. People can be so weird and judgmental. It seems like you guys have your answers all figured out though. And puttanesca is a great comfort food to come home to!

  8. Hey Karina
    I was checking out your work on Flickr and loved it. I also saw other photos there that enticed me to Google The Canyon and I saw a trailer of the movie. Looks really good and can't wait till September. Hoping that it was submitted to the Toronto International Film Festival, so that I may get a chance to view it.
    Congrats to both of you.

  9. Hi, Karina, this is a random spot for this, but thought you might be interested. I was watching a show last night that was describing the process for creating Lodge brand iron pans, and was surprised to hear them say that they use a soy based oil to preseason the pans in the factory. It is baked on at high temps, so I doubt it ever comes off. I thought this was very interesting, and would be an important thing for those with food intolerances to know!!

    Thanks as always for your amazing recipes! They keep my GF/CF vegetarian and night shade free tummy happy!!!

  10. Anonymous09:22

    I'd like to see some of your paintings.

    No offense- it seems like there is a lot of alcohol in this story.

  11. I only wish that I could eat your sauce, but tomatoes are one of my allergies.

    As for the so called polite conversation at art openings... I would think that you both influence each other, but would be more interested in what other medias you work in. (I consider cooking art too!)

  12. Your recipes are so tasty. This is perfect. It is hard to find good vegetarian ideas and it seems that you are the perfect spot. Tried out your previous blog post yesterday and loved it. Now I am going to try this one tonight and I know I'll love it.

  13. I lovelovelove this post/story. I'm so happy you two found each other.


  14. love your stories and recipes, too!

  15. Mmm that looks good!

  16. Thanks, everyone, for your feedback and ideas.

    As for a tomato sub- how about a mix of tomatillos (they're not in the tomato family) and diced banana squash? Or try my Roasted Eggplant Tapenade as a base for a spicy sauce.



  17. This is such a delicious meal. I made it for my wife and it was perfect. I don't usually make vegetarian meals but it was a delightful change of taste.

  18. A vegetarian pasta. This is something I could trick my husband into eating and he wouldn't even know it's healthy. Thanks for this!

  19. I made a version of this last night for a quick dinner. I made it non-vegetarian...added some sauteed shrimp. Added a fresh serrano instead of the jarred jalapenos. Never having Tinkyada spaghetti before, this was indeed a joy to eat! Even better as leftovers...I think the sauce really melded with the noodles overnight. Made a delicious lunch today. Thank you for sharing! Also, anytime you want to show us some of your paintings, we'd love to see!

  20. This looks absolutely delicious!

  21. I love "I cook therefore I eat". It's much better than what Sarah Palin said when she left office -"We hunt, therefore we eat"! You have a lovely blog and I am inspired by your recipes!

  22. I love the picture at the top...I just wish I could make food that looked like that. I will give this recipe a try but I think a would ruin it with my generous splashing. I will update how it goes I just hope mine taste as good as your picture looks.

  23. "married to a real estate agent who sprays Sun-In in his hair" LOL!


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