Pizza-Olé! Sauce

The roots of this sauce trace to the Italian steak sauce called pizzaiola. It is a Southwestern parody that fits my palate better than the original. I use it on pasta and also as the base sauce of my Southwestern pizza.

  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (14½-oz) can diced tomatoes, no salt
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce, no salt
  • 1 (6-oz) can tomato paste, no salt
  • 1 cup red cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried leaf thyme
  • 1 (4-oz) can diced green chile
  • 3 bay leaves, minced
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp <salt>
  • 1 tbsp chocolate syrup, no sugar
  • 1 tbsp New Mexico chile, ground

Cook the onion and garlic in the oil until golden. Add the rest of the ingredients, and let simmer for about 20 minutes in an open sauce pan to reduce the liquid to the desired consistency.

Makes about 3 cups.

put on a ski sauce

This sauce is derived from one that originated on an island near Naples and is now found in Italian restaurants all over the world. The word “Puttanesca” derives from “puttana”, which is a colloquial term for “prostitute.” Why it is called this is uncertain, and certainly uninteresting from the culinary standpoint.

Culinarily, however, it is a thick, flavorful Italian pasta sauce that includes capers, anchovies, olives, onions, and tomatoes. There are other regional variations that include tuna, garlic, and fresh basil leaves. It is traditionally served over spaghetti.

Although my sauce is perhaps a copy, a clone, a plagiarism, or an amalgamation, it certainly does not deserve to be called a prostitute.

I recall having Pasta alla Puttanesca, probably for the first time, on a family ski trip to Mammoth Mountain in about 1971, at an Italian restaurant near our lodge. I did not know then what the title meant, and I jokingly renamed it “Put on a Ski,” which is what I yet call it today, although I no longer serve it with pasta (too many carbs).

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 2 (28-oz) cans diced Italian-style tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 (2-oz) can tbsp flat anchovies, rinsed, drained, patted dry, and minced (or an equal amount of anchovy paste)
  • 1 cup brine cured Kalamata olives, pitted, chopped
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried pepper flakes
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 oz balsamic vinegar
  • <salt>, if you must
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions, and sauté until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the sauce has reduced and not watery. Correct the seasoning. Cover and set aside, or cool and refrigerate for later use.

Serve hot over lower G. I. pasta cooked al dente according to package directions. Top with grated Asiago cheese and accompany with cheese-garlic toast .