Chickpea puttanesca with polenta

by Katie on June 14, 2011

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Puttanesca is a dish I learned about while attending the natural foods cooking intensive with Christina Pirello a couple weekends ago. Before the weekend, I had heard of puttanesca, but the word didn’t mean that much to me. There are so many Italian food descriptors – caprese, cacciatore, piccata, and carbonara, to name just a few – and when I hear them, I know they’re Italian, but that’s about it.

Now I’ll always remember puttanesca. It comes from the Italian word puttana which means, shall we say, “lady of the night.” Those ladies would throw quick meals together with what they had on hand, which included fresh tomatoes, olives, and capers. As a bonus, olives are considered an aphrodesiac.

Fresh tomatoes are abundant at the markets here now. We get what are called creole tomatoes, which are tomatoes grown in the Mississippi Delta soil. They’re so red and flavorful. So I thought I’d cook up a puttanesca. To do so, I adapted this recipe from Christina. Among a couple other tweaks, I added chickpeas to add protein to the dish and topped it with fresh herbs. It’s a simple yet tasty summer dish that I’ll be making repeatedly over the coming months, I’m sure.

What’s your favorite way to use those fresh in-season tomatoes? Do you have a favorite sauce you like to make? I would love to know.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

DessertForTwo June 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

Love your vegetarian version of this! :)


JL goes Vegan June 15, 2011 at 4:54 am

Katie, this looks amazing! I actually bought polenta over the weekend and haven’t been sure how to prep it. This looks like a winner!


Kathryn July 7, 2011 at 8:05 am

This sounds great! I love meals I can pull together with ingredients on-hand. You might also like Panzanella, another wonderful way to enjoy summer tomatoes.


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