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Pasta Puttanesca by the numbers - authentic Italian cooking series · Friday September 3, 2021 by colin newell

Pasta Puttanesca by the numbers

I was raised on Spaghetti and meat balls. Tomatoes are my blood. Decades on, I take the greatest delight in genuine Italian cooking. My mama was raised in an Italian-Canadian enclave in Montreal and she knew her stuff. Here in the 21st Century, I have expanded on my childhood knowledge by digging deeper into the cuisine.

Click on the photo for some screen filling action!

Enter pasta Puttanseca. It is a simple dish with a storied past. I’ll let my readers draw their own conclusions as to the myth versus the reality – but on dreary days, this is one of our go-to recipes for a quick and satisfying meal with the minimum of fuss, quick preparation with ready ingredients… made better by the addition of my incredible sourdough focaccia bread


1/8 c. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 (14-oz.) diced fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 c. kalamata olives, pitted
1/8 c. capers
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Serving for 2 of boxed spaghetti or bucatini
Chopped parsley, for garnish
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving


Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant – about 1 minute.
Add anchovies and cook until fragrant, another minute.
Add tomatoes, olives, capers, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water (heaping tablespoon of kosher salt to water) to a boil.
Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions, until al dente; drain. Toss spaghetti in sauce.

Sprinkle with parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Serve with a fat glass of Red wine and my incredible Focaccia bread – You’ll thank me later.

Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and coffee expert exploring the powers of the internet since 1996 – his treatise on caffeine has cured many a case of insomnia over the years…


Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta · Saturday August 25, 2018 by colin newell

Fresh Tomato Basil pasta with Balsamic crema

It’s a sure sign of summer’s forward motion towards fall when the garden baskets fill with cherry tomatoes and basil plants bow under the weight of their own bounty.

This simple pasta dish is vegetarian/vegan and is a delight paired with a voluminous red white.

Ingredients –

Fettuccine for pasta – fresher the better.
Olive oil
Cherry tomatoes – around 1 cup or so. Halved.
1/2 cup chopped basil (Fresh!) – and chopped fresh garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chili flakes
Balsamic crema
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese


Put on salted water for pasta (enough for two people…)
Heat a saute pan with two tablespoons of olive oil.
When heat achieved (medium) put in 3/4 of the halved tomatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper (heavy on the pepper)
Saute for around 2 minutes – then add heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic and a sprinkle of chilli flakes to taste
Stir for another minute or so and add a 1/4 cup of white wine.
Turn heat down to low medium.
Take half of the chopped basil and throw it into the saute pan. Mix or stir. Cook for 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta.
Add it to your Saute pan. Mix to combine. Add 3/4 of the cheese and the remaining basil. Mix to combine.
Divide between two plates and garnish with remaining cheese.

Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and coffee lover who appreciates simple dishes served with love… and wine…


Dinner hour - Bucatini All'Amatriciana · Monday June 1, 2015 by colin newell

Bucatini Alla Matriciana

This is one of my wife’s favourite meals at a local restaurant named Zambri’s – using our own tomatoes from the garden as well as many other fresh ingredients, we created the Marinara (which is basically Tomatoes, onions, finely diced celery, carrots, 1/2 cup of red wine, garlic etc – full recipe to follow). The Marinara is the foundation for many classic Italian recipes and we will give it its own blog entry shortly!

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (or bacon)
1/2 red onion – cut lengthwise in half – and 1/4” half moons
2 teaspoons mince garlic
1 heaping teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups home made marinara sauce
freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
2 servings Bucatini pasta

Put water on to boil with salt
Meanwhile in a saute pan combine olive oil, pancetta, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Cook over medium low until the onion is softened and the pancetta has rendered much of its fat – about 12 to 15 minutes.

Drain away all but 1/4 cup of the fat from the pan.
Add the marinara sauce.
Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer.
Allow to simmer for 6 – 7 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the Bucatini in boiling water for about 12 minutes or as directed by pasta cooking instructions – looking for “very firm” – drain.
Add the pasta to the simmering sauce and toss for about 1 minute to coat.

Divide the pasta among the plates (two servings) dress with grated cheese.


Summer Food Fun and Drink 2009 Chapter 6 B.C. Transit to suspend Charter Rights for one day · Monday June 30, 2014 by colin newell

Ride the Bus - stay safe... unless you have booze!

Heading to a garden party across town on Canada Day? A blog reboot from 2009!

Arborbrook Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select 2006 at $67 a bottle (U.S.) is a remarkable grape. Any party host would welcome you with open arms.

This huge wine hits you harder than a jilted bride with bigger-than-Rita McNeil style – and flavors: fat, voluptuous with powerful fruit seasoned with ungodly quantities of exotically spicy new oak.

And if you are thinking about doing the right thing and leaving your car at home on Canada Day – I mean, doing the Legally right thing… by not drinking and driving – by taking the Bus (with this great Wine in your Man-Bag…) well think again Cowboys and Cowgirls!

B.C. Transit will have a ZERO alcohol policy on Canada Day – regardless of whether or not you are sober, wearing priestly garb or doing an emergency delivery to your favorite grape fan.

Even if you have this sealed Wine double paper bagged and sealed in your ruck sack, the folks at B.C. Transit will be taking it from you – after they illegally search you… violating your Charter Rights.

And sure, you can avoid the shake down by not taking the bus…

But that is not the point.

You have the right to ride the bus and you have the right not to be searched without probable cause.

So. Buy yourself a big fat bottle a grape and find an alternate form of transport… because you will not be riding the bus on Canada Day if you have any sober and peaceful plans to attend a civilized social somewhere!

This blog re-boot from 2009 is made available to you from the good people at the CoffeeCrew blog.


Summer food fun and drink - Enjoy an Okanagan Meritage Today · Monday August 25, 2008 by colin newell

Summer food fun and drink Okanagan Red Rooster Meritage

Andrea asks… “When does your Summer Food Fun and Drink series end? And what are you going to call the new series?”

Good question.

Was thinking something along the lines of Autumn Leaves Feast of Fields… in celebrating harvest… something that resonates with me… having grown up on a small farm. It is calm. It is subtle.

Or we could call it Listeria Hysteria Pass me the Bacon Mildred…

Not so subtle.

Speaking of which, Sunday morning I was gazing fondly at a portion of Maple Leaf bacon in the fridge on Sunday whilst whipping up some of my not-yet-famous Non-Dairy Waffles... Kids love `em and you will too!

And what goes better with a nice linear stack of waffles than 8 slices of bacon?
Especially when the threat of illness, death and cholesterol posed by contaminated meats – rests over your head like a scimitar hanging by one hair from your grandmothers head…

Anyway – a Olympian tug-of-war ensued between Andrea and I… I won. Bacon in pan.

And apart from the bacon tasting vaguely like Kopi Luwak all was well –

Today in Wine: Enjoyed a 2005 Red Rooster Meritage with dinner. It had pretty bold oak that merged as the wine caught a breath. There were fairly focused blue-berry notes, some pluminess and sufficiently chewy to sustain the pairing…


Vegetarian nachos.
There. I said it.