Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Easy Meatless Monday: Black olive, tomato & parmesan pasta

My three-year-old is a big fan of black olives: in a can, marinated in oil and spices, even in tapenade. A good source of vitamin E, a variety of minerals, and chock full of the healthy fats that are recommended for heart health, black olives are necessarily always in stock in our house and are an easy go-to grab when I want to throw a little nutrient-rich something on a pizza, in a pasta, or on a salad. They are the classic butt-save for the evenings when 6:00 rolls around, I've forgotten about dinner, and pasta with cheese just doesn't have our spirits soaring.

Allow me to share one such butt-save variation with you.  I like this one for the sweet and savory combo that is created by the warm EVOO-tomato-garlic-parsley blend as well as the finishing twist of lemon that ties it all together with some zing.  Here's to saving Monday night dinners one butt at a time!

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 2 cups quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley for cooking, 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • whole grain pasta
  • 3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan, 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1 cup sliced black olives (canned or marinated)
  • 1/4 lemon
    1. Put your pasta in to cook (9 minutes to al dente I think for whole grain pasta?)
    2. Place the EVOO in the pan and warm to medium-high heat.
    3. Drop in the garlic and allow to saute, but not brown.
    4. Add in the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper and toss to coat.

    5. Allow to cook until the tomatoes have begun to deflate, the parsley is wilted, and the juices at the bottom of the pan have mixed with the EVOO to create a golden brown.  

    6. Drain your pasta and toss in bowl with all of the tomato mixture, scraping as much of the yummy goodness out of the pan as possible.
    7. Add in the black olives (marinated are the most flavorful but to go cheap I often go half canned, half marinated) and grated parmesan.

    8. Squeeze the fresh lemon over the combo, toss, and taste.    
    9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    10. Plate (or bowl) it up, top with freshly chopped parsley, the extra grated parm, and a wedge of lemon.
    11. Enjoy!

    Fun Variations:
    • Play with different cheeses (Example: grated swiss would do great here as well as possibly mixing in some ricotta for something a bit creamier.
    • Mix in your favorite herb (Example: switch out the parsley for basil or go half and half)

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