100 Favorite Dishes: Pasta puttanesca from Sketch

Brianpasta.jpg
Lori Midson

No. 45: Pasta puttanesca from Sketch

Just a few months ago, Brian Laird, the former longtime executive chef of Barolo Grill, was flipping burgers at Rockbar, and the introduction of those burgers, for whatever weird reason, caused a major uproar with Rockbar die-hards whose chagrin was more than palpable. "We can get burgers anywhere! We cannot shamelessly dance our faces off anywhere else. DON'T DO THIS!," screeched one Cafe Society commenter. Blah, blah, blah. In any case, Laird has since moved on to Sketch, the wine, charcuterie -- and now -- pasta bar in Baker that's owned by Jesse Morreale, who also oversees Rockbar. And here, Laird has returned to his roots, turning out bowls of majestic housemade pastas, including his pasta puttanesca, which, if you didn't already know, was allegedly invented -- and made -- by prostitutes, who relied on the sauce's come hither perfume to lure customers. But when you order Laird's puttanesca, you're getting a lot more than that: His textured, chunky sauce, flecked with red chile flakes, tangled with capers and olives and scented with garlic and a whisper of anchovies, is better than most sex.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below:

No. 100: Italian wedding soup from the Squeaky Bean
No. 99: American Classic Burger (and fries) from Tarbell's
No. 98: E's clam linguini from Mangiamo Pronto
No. 97: Queso a la plancha taco from the Pinche Tacos wagon
No. 96: Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño poppers from Tony's Market
No. 95: Fried chicken from the Pinyon
No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro

No. 93: Posole from The Porker
No. 92: Breakfast Burrito from the Taco Wagon in Lafayette
No. 91: Hummus from Shish Kabob Grill
No. 90: Albondigas meatballs from Solera
No. 89: Lemon-ricotta doughnuts from Olivéa
No. 88: Döner kabob from Shondiz
No. 87: Roasted cauliflower salad from Euclid Hall
No. 86: Beef cheek enchiladas from El Diablo
No. 85: Fried Brussels sprouts from Panzano
No. 84: Pork osso buco from Osteria Marco
No. 83: Cazuela Colombiana from Cafe Brazil
No. 82: Chicken potpie from Devil's Food
No. 81: Sichuan braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma
No. 80: Larb nua from Taste of Thailand
No. 79: Pork shank from Argyll
No. 78: Truffo panino from Shangri-La Cafe
No. 77: Pig-snout tacos from Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet
No. 76: Speck and maple ice cream from Pizzeria Basta
No. 75: Tom yum goong from Thai Flavor
No. 74: South African black ruff from TAG
No. 73: Gumbo from Bistro One

No. 72: New England clam chowder from Bittersweet
No. 71: Celery and lime popsicle from Spuntino
No. 70: Curried split pea soup from Modmarket
No. 69: Mais pizza from Pizzeria Locale

No. 68: Risotto frutti di mare from Firenze a Tavola
No. 67: Frico caldo from Frasca Food & Wine
No. 66: Sea scallop and rock shrimp noodle bowl from Bones
No. 65: Luther Burger from Crave
No. 64: Chongqing Chicken from East Asia Garden
No. 63: Bouillabaisse from Deluxe
No. 62: Crue fries from D Bar Desserts
No. 61: Chili gobi from Jai Ho
No. 60: New Mexican eggs Benedict from DJ's Berkley Cafe
No. 59: Lamb vindaloo from Cuisine of the Himalayas
No. 58: Gazpacho verde from Zolo Grill
No. 57: Hama Hama oyster from Jax Fish House-Denver
No. 56: Mixiote de borrego from El Trompito Taqueria
No. 55: Samosas from the British Bulldog
No. 54: Mole verde with carnitas from Tarasco's
No. 53: Pork chop from Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar
No. 52: Santa Fe skillet from Hits the Spot Diner
No. 51: Pork tenderloin with bread pudding and green split peas from the Wooden Table
No. 50: Noodle jelly salad from Thai Street Food
No. 49: Telluride jalapeno poppers from Encore
No. 48: Carnitas from Araujo's
No. 47: Croque Madame from Pierre Michel Organic French Bakery Cafe
No. 46 Xiao Long Bao from Lao Wang Noodle House

In late 2009, we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- one hundred, to be exact. Now we're back with round two, counting down (in no particular order) a hundred more of our favorite Denver dishes in a list that, by our imperfect calculations, should be wrapped up...before Best of Denver® 2012. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at lori.midson@westword.com.

Location Info

Sketch Food & Wine - CLOSED

11 W. 1st Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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9 comments
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Lilikoi Lizzi
Lilikoi Lizzi

I loved the ambience of Sketch, the old arched,highceilinged,cozy resturant  is filled with the fragrances of the pasta bar. Chef's pastas are so light they melt in your mouth, the sauces he creates are delectable! yum..what I would give for a pasta puttenesca dish right now...to bad I live on MAUI..I can't get enough of Chef Lairds flavor experience...aloha

Robert Pinz
Robert Pinz

Folks are raving about the housemade pastas at Sketch. This snap shows one of the best, the classic puttanesca. It's certainly not going to the dog!

Robert Pinz
Robert Pinz

Folks are raving about the housemade pastas at Sketch. This snap shows one of the best, the classic puttanesca. It's certainly not going to the dog!

Robert Pinz
Robert Pinz

Folks are raving about the housemade pastas at Sketch. This snap shows one of the best, the classic puttanesca. It's certainly not going to the dog!

Robert Pinz
Robert Pinz

Folks are raving about the housemade pastas at Sketch. This snap shows one of the best, the classic puttanesca. It's certainly not going to the dog!

Mikki Wood
Mikki Wood

Go Sketch!! Looking good. Yes I must do dinner soon!!

Lassie
Lassie

That photo isn't doing the dish any favors.  It looks like something my dog threw up.

Jeff
Jeff

Your dog's vomit looks like a pretty classic puttanesca to me.

Lassie
Lassie

Thanks for changing the photo.  The other one gave me dry heaves.

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