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Old 06-26-2005, 04:11 AM   #1
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Sicilian lifeguard sauce; what's authentic?

Last recipe I saw somewhere I wrote down: almonds, chilies, capers and wine. Is that the real deal? I know I've seen Mario Batali make this and I'll bet his is a little different. Perhaps there is some parsley and garlic I am leaving out? Anyhow what do you guys think is the "authentic" version?

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Old 06-26-2005, 03:34 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure that "authentic" changes from kitchen to kitchen, especially in Italy!

;)
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Old 06-26-2005, 05:05 PM   #3
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you're kidding on the name of this sauce, right?
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Old 06-26-2005, 05:15 PM   #4
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How I was taught was, it's basically a quick Olio or Olive Oil based sauce that you can put together in a matter of minutes. Just make sure that the pasta is a few minutes away from being done or else you'll burn the ingredients in the sauce. Basically, it contains these or similar basic ingredients:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Chili Flakes
Sliced Garlic
Capers
Anchovy Paste
Lemon Juice/Zest
Italian Parsley
Salt
Breadcrumbs

Basically, you heat the EVOO (enough to make a sauce with and coat the pasta--about 4-6 Tbsp.), saute the sliced garlic until the edges just turn golden brown, add the chili flakes, capers, and anchovy paste. Using a wooden spoon, emulsify the paste into the oil. Add the lemon juice/zest, parsely, and pasta, and toss to coat. Add the breadcrumbs and toss with the pasta, then season with salt and serve.
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Old 06-26-2005, 05:21 PM   #5
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so how different is puntanesca sauce? Just the tomatoes? hmm looking at my notes..if I take out your lemon juice and substittute tomatoes, and take ou the bread crumbs I have the Putanesca that is in Joy of Cooking. comments?
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Old 06-26-2005, 05:40 PM   #6
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Puntanesca sauce HAS to have anchovies, or it's not puntanesca sauce.

If you do a Google search for Sicilian lifeguard sauce and check the first twenty responses, you will find twenty different recipes, including two different ones by Mario Batali. Like Zereh said, it is going to differ from kitchen to kitchen.
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Old 06-26-2005, 05:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpinmaryland
so how different is puntanesca sauce? Just the tomatoes? hmm looking at my notes..if I take out your lemon juice and substittute tomatoes, and take ou the bread crumbs I have the Putanesca that is in Joy of Cooking. comments?
Actually, the ommision of lemon and breadcrumbs, as well as the addition of tomotoes will drastically change the taste of the sauce.

True puttanesca sauce also has olives in them. Try using a combination of Sicilian and Gaeta olives. Did you know that the origin of puttanesca sauce is based on prostitution? Try calling an Italian woman "la puttana".
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Old 06-26-2005, 06:02 PM   #8
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Here is one of the Mario versions that he makes w/ squid and couscous,

basic sauce ingredients: pine nuts, garlic, currants, caperberries and red pepper flakes, wine and tomato sauce, scallions, S/P.

basic instructions:


Ina 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the pine nuts, garlic, currants, caperberries and red pepper flakes, and saute until the pine nuts are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the couscous and bring to a boil. Add the calamari, stir to mix, and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the calamari is just cooked and completely opaque. Toss in the scallions. Season with salt and pepper, pour into a large warm bowl, sprinkle with the reserved scallions, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.

So the anchovies/tomato make it Putanesca; what ingredients define it as lifeguard sauce? the nuts and capers?
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Old 06-26-2005, 06:06 PM   #9
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I *think* what makes it a lifeguard sauce is that you're supposed to be able to make it very quickly. Something to the effect that the lifeguards needed to be able to make a quick but tasty pasta as they could not afford long lunch (dinner) breaks like everyone else in Italy.
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Old 06-26-2005, 06:27 PM   #10
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Caine: I dont know what terms you used in Google but my google search of the first 30 terms hardly reveals 20 different recipes. In fact it only reveals one, essentially Mario's recipe I posted above.

There are various references to Babbo (his restaurant) and other people who have sample food from Babbo or who have plagiarized the recipe outright.

There is one variation I found, where they start w/ Leeks and add parsley later but it probably the same Mario recipe.

So Batali uses tomatoes and our Iron Chef does not. I'm willing to go with Iron Chef as the last word, he has not steered me wrong yet.

Another fun thread, tracking this down.
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