Tag Archives: Italian

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

I am an expert of the field of minimal effort cooking.  Mostly this happens on days when I’m just cooking for myself (or at the end of busy, crazy days, or lazy ones).  I threw together this light and tasty pasta in about 5 minutes the other night and man, it was good!

You could use any kind of olives in this, but I happened to have some Castelvetrano olives on hand so i used those.  I recently discovered these and it was love at first taste!  They are bright green and round, and very mild and a bit nutty in flavor.  If your grocery store has an olive bar, that will probably be your best bet if you’re interested in picking some up, but I do occasionally see a jar of them here and there as well.  If you can’t find them, feel free to sub the olive of your choice.

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

Capellini or angel hair pasta
3-4 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
Handful of olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, very thinly sliced or minced
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil while you heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the skillet.  Toss in the pasta and keep an eye on it.  Capellini is very thin; it will only take about 4 minutes to cook.  While the pasta is cooking, saute the garlic in olive oil for about 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned.  Add tomatoes and olives.  Turn heat down to low and give the mixture an occasional stir until the pasta is ready.  You really don’t need to cook the veggies much, mostly you are just heating them up and letting some of their juices release and combine to make it a little more saucy.

Just a little mingle in the heat to really bring out the flavor.

Just a little mingle in the heat to really bring out the flavor.

Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper if needed (depending on the type of olives you use, you may not need much salt at all, if any).  Drain pasta (reserve a bit of the pasta water) and toss with tomato mixture.  If pasta seems dry you can add in a little bit of the reserved pasta water or drizzle with a touch of olive oil.  Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan or feta if desired.

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Farmer’s Market Pita Pizza

I almost forgot to go to Farmer’s Market this weekend.  At the last minute, I remembered I had no veggies in my fridge, and if it wasn’t the market, it was a trip to the grocery store instead.  I chose the market.  I arrived with only a few minutes to spare, in fact some of the vendors were already breaking down their booths.  So I embarked on what surely was the quickest, most efficient farmers marketing I have ever done, rushing through and grabbing a few goodies here and there without giving it too much thought.  It was actually a lot of fun, and I ended up with an armful of random items that somehow go really well together.  Plus I scored a gorgeous flower bouquet, greatly discounted.  I’d like to think it was because I was looking especially fetching that day, but truth is, he probably just wanted to go home.  Maybe both. 🙂

Farmer’s market goodies! Gorgeous flowers, new potatoes, goat cheese, beets, dill, carrots, sweet onions, raspberries and look at those beautiful tomatoes!

So for dinner, obviously I couldn’t wait to dip into my treasure trove of goodies.  I had a couple things left from my last trip to the market that needed to get used up – some pita bread and Italian salami.  Combined with some of fresh goat cheese and freaking amazing tomatoes from this trip, plus some basil from my garden, I had myself a pizza to die for.

My beautiful pizza!

Farmer’s Market Pita Pizza

1 greek pita or flatbread
1 small to medium size tomato, sliced
fresh basil
olive oil
goat cheese
dry salami

Drizzle the pita with a tiny bit of olive oil.  Arrange tomatoes over the top to cover the surface.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Scatter salami and basil over the top and dot with blobs of goat cheese.  Add another little drizzle of olive oil.

Building the perfect pizza. You really don’t even need to cook it if you don’t want to.

Broil for 5 minutes or so until the cheese is melty and the crust is browned around the edges.  Cut into wedges and eat!

 

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Pesto Spaghetti

If you’ve eaten dinner at my house a few times, chances are good you’ve been fed Pesto Spaghetti.  It’s one of my favorite recipes and I’ve been making it for years and years.  A friend taught me her version of this during my college days, back before I knew what pesto was, and it’s evolved ever since.  I love making it for company because it’s quick to throw together and requires very little time in the kitchen so I actually get to visit with my guests instead of cooking the whole time.  It’s also mindless enough that I can visit while I’m cooking and not risk screwing it up.

This is one of the most versatile pasta dishes I make.  You can use any kind of pesto, fresh or packaged, you can use any fresh veggies, or substitute frozen veggies if that’s more convenient.  You can make it with meat or no meat.  You can use any kind of noodle.  And it is wonderful left over the next day.  I’ve even used the leftovers as a base for a frittata the next morning.

A big bunch of fresh asparagus and some baby sweet peppers worked beautifully in this.  I still had Hazelnut Pesto left from a recipe I made last week so I used that as well and it was absolutely lovely.

Pesto Spaghetti

Pesto Spaghetti

Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional – leave out if you don’t like the extra heat)
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped red or orange bell peppers
1/2 cup or more of basil pesto
1 can (15 oz.) of diced tomatoes with juice
1 package of thin spaghetti (or any other pasta)
Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup to mix in and more for sprinkling on top)
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for about a minute.  Add chopped veggies.  Stir and cook for about a minute.  Add pesto and tomatoes and stir to combine.  Turn down heat a bit and cook until pasta is done, stirring occasionally.  Drain pasta and add to pan.  Add 1/2 cup parmesan and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Toss to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve with additional parmesan to sprinkle on top.

Close up of Noodle-icious Pesto Spaghetti

 

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Project Veggie: Day 21 – Angel Hair with Green & Black Olives

Martha Stewart irritates me.  Maybe I’m a small, petty person for saying so, but she does.  Everything is so fussy, and anal, and perfect.  Ugh.  I want to go over there and spill stuff on her counter, rumple her bed, put a few stacks of laundry in the corner of her living room, plant a dust bunny under her armchair!  My house has never looked like anything in her magazine or TV show, and if it did it would probably drive me insane.  I need a little clutter.  I need some randomness.  I don’t want to spend hours preparing a meal or cleaning my house, managing every tiny detail.  But to give her a tiny bit of credit, she sometimes has some good ideas.

I was watching a show once and Martha had a segment on there where she made a super quick spaghetti recipe using just a few ingredients.  I don’t remember the recipe; I didn’t write it down.  But it planted a seed that got me experimenting on my own.  Before that, whenever I made homemade spaghetti sauce it was a long process, chop, chop, simmer, simmer, stir, stir, wait, wait!  But then Martha inspired me to try quicker, fresher, and simpler.  And I never went back.  And for that one thing, I don’t totally hate her.  So thank you, Martha. Although…I hope next time you make spaghetti, you splatter some sauce on your shirt. 🙂

I make many different versions of this pasta, but they all start with a few simple ingredients: a big can of tomatoes, fresh basil, lots of garlic.  Beyond that, I add things depending on my mood, and what’s available in my kitchen.  This is one of our favorite incarnations of this particular dish.

Angel Hair Pasta with Black & Green Olives

Angel Hair with Green & Black Olives

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red peppers
1/2 cup sliced green olives
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup fresh basil, rolled and sliced into strips
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Put a pot of water on to boil and while it heats, prepare the sauce.  Puree the can of tomatoes in a blender or food processor.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic.  Cook for a minute or so until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes.  Add olives and crushed red peppers.  Stir to combine.  Once you have the sauce started you can add the pasta to the boiling water.  Angel hair pasta only takes about 5 minutes to cook, so watch it closely and don’t overcook.  Add fresh basil to the sauce, taste it and see if it needs salt and pepper.  The olives are pretty salty, so usually it doesn’t need much.  Drain the pasta and add to the sauce.  Toss.  Serve hot, topped with parmesan cheese.

Incidentally, this is also great leftover for breakfast or lunch the next day, hot or cold.

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