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Puttanesca has never been the glamorpuss of the Italian culinary world. Back in the day, it was regarded as a quick, cheap meal typically eaten by some of the city's...less savory characters. Let's just say it probably wasn't part of the Italian grandmother repertoire in the 19th century.
Luckily, years later, it's still a quick, cheap meal that packs in a lot of tang from olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies. I've doctored the traditional puttanesca for our lunch box purposes, swapping out pasta for blanched shaved zucchini and roasted potatoes. It's brighter and more flavorful than day-old spaghetti, and less likely to plunge you into post-lunch nap mode at your desk. (If you're really heartbroken about the lack of pasta, just close your eyes and pretend the zucchini is spinach tagliatelle.)
This is a vegetarian lunch that doesn't feel lacking, and tastes fresh even two days later. The sauce is fast and bright, and can be changed to your liking or based on what's in your fridge. Probably not just like mama used to make, but a molto bueno lunch nonetheless.
About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. Follow her recipes and cooking adventures at TheSuzChef.com and on twitter @the_suzchef