(The Virgin and the Whore)
There is something so voluptuous about August-ripe tomatoes, pan-simmered in olive oil and lots of garlic. Lacking basil, I cast around for other ingredients, and found the makings of a puttanesca sauce: olives, capers, and green chili pepper, everything except for the anchovies. I have always been ambivalent about puttanesca. The reality is, the combination of all these strong flavors can be sort of acrid, not a good counterpoint to the fresh sweetness that could otherwise be mine. This time, I decided to respect my ambivalence, and add only small amounts of each. The result: tomato, garlic and olive oil predominated in their summer freshness. The other ingredients: only to titillate.