|Spaghetti alla Puttanesca|
Next month, Roy and I will have been living in San Juan County, Utah for nine years. These past years have been filled with joy, adventure, hardship, heart wrenching moments of loss, sometimes regret which becomes overwhelmed by a passion for the area itself. Many times Roy has been amazed at how acclimated I have become to living in the great Southwest. I tell him I must have been a pioneer in a past life; learned lessons eased me into this new life here.
Beginning a food blog to express a passion for cooking was a given, but beginning a travel blog (http://southwestbrowneyes.com) of the 4 Corners region was a must. How else to share the adventures of this outdoor historical museum, and immense playground of desert, mountains, plains, forests and open ranges? How else to share my photographs that many have called amazing; yet do not truly do justice to the landscape. To appreciate it all, you have to get out here, experience it and remember to breathe. What better way to introduce readers to a delicious Italian recipe, than to integrate it into the story of a San Juan County site.
Kane Creek Canyon Rim aka Lone Rock Road, is located between La Sal and Spanish Valley; the far northern end of San Juan County; entrance across from the Black Ridge Recreation Area. Personally, I often think this region is forgotten about, since the main population of the county is in the central to southern regions. It is a wondrous region of trails for ATVing, 4 wheel driving, hiking, climbing, camping and exploration. On most maps, it’s indicated with a mention of the “Behind the Rocks” trail; no mention of the road name, or what sites are available to see along the way. It’s usually a busy playground during the ATV and Jeep Safaris though.
Lone Rock is a long, red sandstone formation which houses two arches, Balcony and Picture Frame. Now for a little history of Lone Rock to understand the relationship to the recipe I’ll be giving you next. Originally it was called "Prostitute Butte" by the white settlers; the Anasazi used the area for religious ceremonies dedicated to the "mother deity"; it is assumed that sexual practices were part of the ceremonies which offended the white people. A mother goddess is a term used to refer to any female deity associated with motherhood, fertility, creation or the bountiful embodiment of the Earth; the goddess was referred to as Mother Earth or the Earth Mother. The name change to "Lone Rock" now dedicated the area to the Anasazi male fertility god, the Kokopelli; usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player (often with feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head). Kokopelli presides over both childbirth and agriculture; he is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music. In other words, if a female deity was involved...prostitute; male deity...just a lonely guy; can you feel my eyes rolling around in their sockets?
|Lone Rock aka Prostitute Butte|
|Other Side of Lone Rock|
|Picture Frame Arch|
|The Terra Cotta Warriors|
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (pronounced [spaˈɡetti alla puttaˈneska] has been loosely translated into "spaghetti in the style of a whore"; an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the 20th century. The ingredients of tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, black olives, capers, red chile pepper and garlic give it the sensations of sweet, salty, spicy, and savory. In other words, the perfect pasta dish to satisfy the taste buds as well as the belly. Supposedly, this dish was prepared at brothels in the hopes of attracting men to satisfy their hunger for food, and well, do I have to really spell it out?
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ cup sliced, pitted black olives
4 anchovies, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 Tbsp. capers
1 tsp. red chile pepper flakes
1 and ¾ cups fresh, chopped Roma tomatoes (or use equivalent of canned diced tomatoes, drained)
1 lb. spaghetti
Salt to taste
¼ cup fresh, chopped parsley
In a large skillet, medium-high heat, heat oil and add olives, anchovies, garlic, capers and chile flakes. Sauté for 2 minutes, add tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced. At the same time, cook the spaghetti al dente.
Taste sauce and add salt to desired taste; add in drained spaghetti and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste if necessary, and add chopped parsley after cooking.
Plate and sprinkle fresh parsley over all.
Makes 4 servings.
There you have it, a perfect combination of adventuring and dining. Mangia!