Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Aargh Matey, I'm serving up some Pirate Pasta Puttanesca #CooktheBooks

How can you not get lost in a novel that has Pirates, swashbuckling, cooking and adventures on the high seas?  This fun novel, Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown, has it all plus it's all intertwined with a love story.  So much fun!!

wine and phone with book

And wine....did I mention this novel also has wine? I loved this selection of Cook the Books!!
Claudia of Honey From Rock is hosting this period and chose a book that I have had on my TBR list for years, Cinnamon and Gunpowder.  You can read all about her selection and learn how to join us in her Invitation Post.  This is the October/November selection for Cook the Books, a fun group that gets together every 2 months to read the same novel and create a dish inspired by it.  It is so much fun and you still have plenty of time to join.

Chef  Owen Wedgewood is working for Lord Ramsey and serving a meal he has prepared when a gang of pirates led by Mad Hannah Mabbot, break in and Mabbot cold heartedly shoots Ramsey without batting an eye.  Wedgewood fears for his life but he is spared after Mabbot tastes some of his cooking and decides to bring him aboard the ship to be her personal chef.  She will spare his life as long as he places an exquisite meal in front of her each Sunday.

Sourdough Potato Bread

The first thing Wedgewood does when he looks in the dismal galley that has not a whole lot to offer, is to make a sourdough sponge with some flour, after removing the weevils.  He keeps this starter taped to his body for warmth so that it will become alive and bubbly.  

This inspired me to pull out my sourdough starter that had been languishing in the refrigerator and make some Sourdough Potato Bread.  This is not the recipe I am sharing with you today but I did share it on the blog last week along with my Weekly Menu.  

I considered seafood of some sort as Wedgewood was able to get fresh fish for his meals.  I thought about making eel.  I love eel when I get sushi but have never made it myself.  I also thought about making razor clams or cod, both of which were included in meals that Wedgewood made.  

But I laughed out loud when Wedgewood found some anchovies and decided to make a Puttanesca sauce, remembering the woman who taught him the recipe while he was serving in a monastary and his not being allowed to call it by it's rightful title.  You see, puttana translates to whore and rumor had it that this dish was made by prostitutes because it was quick and could be made and eaten between customers. 

pasta and wine

Wedgewood served his Puttanesca over Cod with a Madeira wine.  I served mine over pasta with a slice of the Sourdough bread and a bottle of PrimZin from Coopershawk.  I liked that this wine was a blend of old world Primativo and new world Zinfandel.  I thought that fit the novel very well.

Puttanesca was created in Naples and typically contains olives.  My husband is not an olive lover so I did not add any to my sauce, however I did add anchovies as Wedgewood had.  

Puttanesca pin

My library only offered this book as an audible selection so I downloaded it to my phone.  The narrator did a nice job and he kept my interest throughout.  I only have one, little complaint.  When Wedgewood was making a Mole sauce the narrator pronounced it mole as in the rodent.  He went on to describe a wonderful Mole but continued to say mole.  It drove me to distraction but that's just my OCD acting up again LOL.

I have never made Puttanesca before because I thought the olives were mandatory so I am very happy the Owen Wedgewood had no olives available to him on the ship.  This was a great, quick and easy dinner that I enjoyed nearly as much as I enjoyed the novel.

Pasta, Entrees
Yield: 2 serving
Author: Wendy Klik
Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

This wonderful sauce is ready in the amount of time it takes to boil the water and cook your pasta. Dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 20 Min


  • 8 oz pasta, I used bucatini
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 T. capers, roughly chopped
  • 6 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato puree
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta per package directions.  
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add the anchovies and capers.  Stir in the tomato paste, season with the crushed red pepper and cook, stirring until the anchovies begin to dissolve. 
  3. Add the tomato puree, season with salt and pepper and simmer while the pasta cooks.
  4. Remove the pasta from the cooking water and place directly into the skillet with the sauce.  Toss to coat and serve. 


Adapted from a recipe found at Krumpli.co

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)



  1. Thanks Wendy, happy to see you liked the book! I enjoy. a nice Pasta Puttanesca myself from time to time, and in fact it was served up in my last post, a review of Donna Leon's novel Transient Desires.

  2. Creativity in making bread, lol and pasta what more can a person ask for. I printed this recipe sounds delicious.

  3. Sounds like a good dinner!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  4. I started the book a while back but then I got my newest David Sedaris volume and I haven't picked it back up. I did to get to it. Love the pasta (and the bread and the wine)!

    1. Thanks Debra....It is a light, easy read. It won't take you long.

  5. You mad me laugh out loud with your comment about mole (animal) vs mole (sauce): it would have driven me to distraction as well ;) Nice choice of recipe for a quick, flavorful pasta :)

  6. What a cute story about this pasta, which I've heard too. It IS good though


I enjoy getting comments and feedback from my audience. Please let me know what you think, keeping in mind that we are all entitled to our own beliefs and opinions. I am happy to hear yours as long as they are stated nicely.