My pantry

50 Shades of Puttanesca….or Whore’s Lasagne

June 29, 2012

Holy Sado-Masochism, Batman……are you guys on the 50 Shades bandwagon????

I’d never heard of it until a girlfriend told me there was a Mills & Boon-on-steroids trilogy afloat and if I fancied some trashy ‘clit lit’ (if you’ll pardon the term) she’d lend it to me if I promised not to stick the pages together. I was shocked at the suggestion.
Initially, 50 Shades of Grey made me giggle. The writing is certainly less than amazing, and it has been panned by critics for having a lame plot. The themes are eye-brow raising, to say the least, but before I knew it, I was over half-way through the first one and I can’t turn the pages fast enough.
I’m not laughing any more.
In fact, it’s making me feel all funny in my tummy…..and other places.

Rumour has it, people reading it on public transport are hiding it in the jacket of another book for fear of being branded a filth-bag. With 10 million copies sold worldwide, selling out so fast it surpassed the Harry Potter series in the UK, it poses the question, are we harbouring secret Bondage and Discipline fantasies? I didn’t think I was until Mr. Grey made a jolly good spanking look as sexy as an erotic massage followed by your husband doing the vacuuming.

With the popularity of shows like True Blood, there’s no doubt that we’re all gagging for a bit of sexy escapism, but what are we escaping to? Domination, being ‘owned’ by another……my inner feminist cringes at the thought, whilst the rest of me rushes to finish this post so I can get back to my book!

Another reason that I think it has such great appeal is that so many women will relate to the fact that our heroine, Miss Anastasia Steele, has found a rather broken specimen and desperately wants to fix him. He’s given due warning that he’s trouble (50 kinds of fucked up – verbatim) and yet she’s like a fat kid to a Tim Tam. I know I’ve fallen down that slippery slope, and I sure as hell didn’t lie at the bottom on my own. In fact, I know countless women doing it right now….but who knows what’s going on behind closed doors? They might even be swinging from a harness, trussed up like a Christmas turkey, getting a paddling as I type. I dare say, after 10 million plus read this little eye-opener the sales of cable ties and caribiners may indeed soar.
Apparently, after many women now exploring their sexuality, husbands and boyfriends around the world are high-fiving author, E.L. James….just as soon as their hands are untied from the bed posts.

Anyhoo, enough of the book revue. After receiving some rather fabulous gifts from her smoking hot, young, generous, billionaire Dominant (don’t find many of those around here), Anastasia’s ‘inner goddess’ has branded her a whore. I thought I’d make a Puttanesca inspired dish as an homage to the filth I’m reading.

There are a few elements to this dish, but if you can’t be arsed, just make the Puttanesca sauce and eat with with spaghetti. Throw a dollop or two of ricotta over it before serving and you’ve got the gist of it for half the work. If you can be arsed, it’s yummy.
Don’t be scared by the anchovy. It’s not used as a monster flavour in here, it’s merely umami. If you can’t get passed the hairy fish, just omit it.

Yield : 4-6 adults

You will need :

For the puttanesca sauce – 

  • 1 spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chili (optional)
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 425g good quality tinned tuna
  • 1/2 cup good olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 packed cup of fresh oregano and basil (combined)
  • 1/3 cup white wine (if you can spare it)
  • 1 bunch silver beet, green only, stalks removed
  • 30g cheese, finely grated (I used Colby)
  • 30g parmesan, finely grated
  • fresh lasagne sheets

For the béchamel sauce – 

  • 30g butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 200g ricotta
  • 30g parmesan
  • 2.5 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
Put a little oil into a deep frypan and throw in your onions. Once they’re translucent, add your garlic, chill if you’re gonna and chopped anchovy fillets and give it a stir. Pop your capsicum into the pan and shimmy it all around together for a few minutes.
Next, add your tinned tomatoes, tuna capers, olives, herbs and wine. Add a slurp of water (200ml or so), and season. Leave to cook while you do your other bits……at this point I had a couple of children to attend to so it probably bubbled away for a good hour. The longer you can simmer, the better for a sauce like this. You want most of the liquid to evaporate.
Wash your trimmed silver beet in a sink of water, then chop without removing too much water. Throw it into a large wok or pot over a medium heat. Stir continually until it’s just wilted. You don’t want to cook the crap out of it.
When done, put it aside in a bowl to cool down.To make your béchamel, place butter into a saucepan and allow to melt. Add flour to butter and whisk it around to allow flour to cook. Add milk, whisking as you go. Add your bay leaf and season.
When it starts to thicken, chuck in your ricotta and parmesan….keep whisking until a nice thick consistency then put aside.Place half of your putta sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish. Lay a layer of fresh lasagne sheets over the top.
Squeeze as much liquid out of your wilted silver beet as you can then lay it on top of your pasta. Spread a ladle full of your béchamel over the spinach.
Top with another layer of lasagne, and then spread the remaining sauce over the top. One more layer of lasagne and then top with the rest of your béchamel. Finish it off by gently sprinkling your finely grated cheese over the top. If you grate your cheese with the fine grater, it’s easier to make a little go a long way thereby keeping down your cheese (fat) intake.
Pop it into a pre-heated oven on 190C. Cook for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly and delectable.


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  • Reply Cassie June 29, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I want to make the whore’s lasagna. Maybe it will help me read 50 Shades.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 29, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Just read it with no expectations of of anything other than pure trash!! It’s easy once you start because it’s strangely infectious!

      • Reply Cassie June 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

        Haha, I think that’s the best advice I’ve gotten!

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design July 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Haha. I’ve been hearing from all sorts of ladies (not the typical trashy novel type) about this book but haven’t read it yet. An erotic massage followed by the husband doing the vacuuming? That is hot! “Clit lit” isn’t a term I was familiar with but I’ve heard it called “Mummy Porn”. Apparently men all over the world are reminding their wives to “Go read your book”.

    Puttanesca is on my list of things to make this winter. I adore all those flavours, even if that makes me trashy.

  • Reply monicabugno August 31, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Great book, great recipe and great blog. Very entertaining and tasty all in one 🙂

  • Reply Pork and Fennel Pasta Bake…..just a little bit fancy « Keeping Up With The Holsbys December 11, 2012 at 7:34 am

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