Pasta Puttanesca ... the 'Working Girls' solution to rush hour cooking ...

Well, all working girls need some quick and easy great mains.  However it is not necessary for you to stand on street corners at night in order to appreciate this dish. It is one of my staples and it really is very quick and easy. Don't be hysterical about the amounts of anything in it really as it is very forgiving, I tend to like a little less pasta than most recipes call for. Just relax and add amounts that suit your tastes. You like garlic, go mad - it's your supper. You want 29 shrimp, hey go for it. My favorite is lovely large sea scallops but use whatever you want. I already broke the rule for you anyway, as Pasta Puttanesca is usually a vegetarian dish ... which is usually how I have it to. What a rebel. I hope the true Italian Pasta Police squad doesn't come looking for me for my outrageous crime. Well, if I'm not around for a bit you will know why...
I hope I don't sound arrogant but I have to recommend that you use a good pasta. One from Italy - De Cecco or Bernardo or Pirro or another brand that catches your eye. There is a huge difference in the texture of a really good pasta vs the American brands we all grew up on. A good pasta never gets gummy. Good pasta is only about fifty cents a box more so do try it. If you are the kind of person who notices textures, you will appreciate the difference immediately. And if you are not particularly fussy then don't worry about it. A great way to thaw scallops (and fish to) is to let them sit in milk to cover, or water with a dash of lemon juice. They thaw very quickly and this method removes any 'fishiness' smell. Once they are thawed rinse in clear water and use paper towels to blot thoroughly dry. Otherwise, when you fry them you will be unable to achieve the caramelization that makes scallops so delicious and beautiful. For those of you who are worried the scallops will become waterlogged do not worry so. These gentle tasty creatures once lived in the deep blue sea and never once sank to the bottom against their will. Scallops like to live way down there. They don't like crowds. Just because they are not wearing their bathing suits doesn't mean they will suddenly become waterlogged.

Pasta Puttanesca

8-12 scallops, depending on number of servings (substitute shrimp if you'd like)
1/2 pound spaghettini or 5 pasta nests (use 6 if you like more pasta than sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 generous tbsp capers, rinsed
1/4 - 1/3 c. pitted black olives, roughly chopped
1 tsp anchovy paste or 12 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 - 3 tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped or 1heaping tsp dried 
1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
extra - virgin olive oil
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained 
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghettini or nests in salted, boiling water until almost done. Pour off cooking water and add cold water to pot. Set aside until needed.

Dry scallops then salt & pepper them. Heat 2-3 tsp olive oil in pan over med heat. When hot add scallops and cook 1- 2 mins on one side, flip and cook 1- 2 mins other side. Remove to small plate and set aside.

Dash of oil in pan, fry garlic, add a couple tbsp of the liquid from the canned tomatoes. Add anchovies, stir about until smooth. Drain the tomatoe juice from canned tomatoes into a cup & set aside in case needed. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan. Add dash of salt if needed & pepper. Stir. Add pasta, cook 3-4 mins until pasta is reheated adding a bit of the tomatoe liquid if desired. Add capers, olives, chili pepper flakes & herbs & serve with 4-5 scallops / shrimp per person on top.

Pass pepper flakes & parmesan. 
Serves 2 not so generously ( and 1 if you have a big appetite like mine)

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