Friday, 22 March 2013


I got the idea to make pasta puttanesca with shrimp and feta cheese when I was reading Andrea Camilleri's novel "The shape of water," featuring the character of Inspector Montalbano. I was reading the book for my participation in Cook The Books Club, and I had to think of something nice to make that reminded me of the book. The shrimp, the briny sauce, and the briny feta cheese bring to mind the seaside where inspector Montalbano likes to stroll. 

This is an enjoyable dish and very easy prepare. I love how Greek and Italian ingredients are combined here: strong Mediterranean roots! This dish depends on freshness, therefore, working quickly when preparing it is a must. I had the idea of garnishing the pasta with some fresh grape tomatoes which are very abundant at the market this time of year. They are imported all the way from Mexico and are very tasty. 

Linus happens to love pasta and today he is waiting patiently for his share.

olive oil
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound linguini
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, plus a little more for garnish. 
two or three sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes cut into chunks (seeds and skin removed)
some grape tomatoes cut in half, to be used for garnish
4 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 teaspoon red pepper seeds, or use more if you prefer
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
10 pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped


  • First, prepare the pasta and shrimp: 
  • Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. Add the linguini and cook according to package directions. 
  • Drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl. Sprinkle some olive oil on the pasta, and mix.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. 
  • Add 2 cloves of garlic and sauté for one minute. 
  • Add the shrimp and thyme and cook for about 3 minutes, until the shrimp have turned pink. 
  • Remove from the heat, add the feta cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper. 
  • Add the shrimp mixture to the pasta.
  • Add some parsley and mix well. Cover and set aside.
  • Now make the puttanesca sauce:
  • In a pan heat some olive oil and add the rest of the garlic along with the anchovies, red pepper seeds, and capers. Cook for about one minute, stirring. 
  • Add the olives, the oregano, the Roma tomatoes and the sun-dried tomatoes. 
  • Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the sauce to the pasta and shrimp and mix. 
  • Before serving garnish with the grape tomatoes and the rest of the parsley and feta cheese.