Tag Archives: quick pasta dish

Another Great Dinner with Eggs as the Star!(serves 4)

Sometimes I wish I was one of those women I see in the supermarket (sometimes men, but truly not very often) pushing those giant shopping carts overflowing with a week’s worth of groceries. They usually have a big list and a pen and industrially check off whatever it is they tip into the basket as they go. Why can’t I plan ahead like that?

This is not me!

Well I just can’t because it is not me.  And now I know that it is ok and that my spontaneity when it comes to cooking a dish is why it is good. If I did plan a week ahead, would I lose that excitement about cooking? I don’t know for sure, but this particular dish would not have been made if my cupboard was overflowing with ingredients for my set menu plan. And that would be a tragedy because, this delicious feast was born out of happy desperation and was amazing!

DSC_0356

My Lovely spontaneous Dinner

The desperation was that I only had protein in the form of eggs and three thin slices of bacon, and cilantro was my green vegetable (actually the only vegetable, besides garlic, which I view more as a condiment so it is always on hand in my kitchen, much like salt). The only other thing I can safely bet on always having in my pantry is pasta of one kind or another. In this case it was spaghetti.

So, if you only have eggs in your fridge and you have to make dinner, try this, and breathe a sign of relief as you whizz by the supermarket on your way home!

DSC_0355

If you have Parmesan cheese, that is an added bonus!

You will need:

  • Extra-Virgin Olive oil (5-6 tablespoons)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped(as much as you like really. If you adore garlic, use more!)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro OR Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped (the bundle you get in the supermarket is good but if you have less, use whatever you have on hand)
  • 3-4 slices bacon, cut into pieces (optional). If it is very fatty, trim it a little
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional, but amazing addition)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3/4 lb pasta..so not the entire box (spaghetti works best but penne or any other pasta you have will work)

Method:

boiling spaghetti

Put pasta on to cook first (see Instruction 1. below)

1.Put pasta water on to boil and cook pasta according to instructions while you continue with the rest of the dish (the pasta should be ready right when everything else is done if you time it right. So take into consideration how long the water takes to boil and how long the pasta will take to cook and use that to gauge when you think you will have completed the rest of the dish. This is ready in 20 mins from start to finish if you are efficient)DSC_0353

2. Put big saute pan on stove top on medium heat and let it warm up for a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and after it warms add the and cook until it begins to get a little crispy. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and swirl everything together. Cook for about a  2 minutes before adding the chopped cilantro. Saute until the cilantro wilts into everything. Turn heat down to low and set aside.

DSC_0354

3. While the pasta is cooking and the rest of the dish is waiting in the big pan, start frying the eggs sunny side up in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to start (for two eggs) and add more as needed (it should be a generous amount  – look at photo above. My eggs are swimming in lovely oil!)

4. In the meantime, when the pasta is cooked, drain (do not rinse!) and toss directly into the saute pan with the garlic mixture. Toss everything together adding a little more extra-virgin olive oil if you like. Taste at this point for salt and pepper. Divide into bowls and as the eggs are done, place on top of the pasta and serve. If you have fresh Parmesan cheese: Splendid! You may drizzle with more oil or toss some fresh cilantro on top and a sprinkle of finishing salt

DSC_0352

Total Yumminess

 

 

QUICK Spaghetti with Garlicky Olive Oil & Mortadella (romantic dinner for 2)

There was a very strange and unusual occurrence this past Saturday evening at my house: we were without children for the night! They each had impromptu sleepovers with friends and so at about 7.30pm on Saturday, I found myself in the kitchen, alone.

Our quick and romantic dinner for two

Our quick and romantic dinner for two

My man Dave was not home yet and all sorts of thoughts about what we should do with this precious time popped into my head; go to the movies, play music really really loud in the house, order takeout for dinner, read a book, have a party??? None of the above really appealed (except the bit about playing music loud, which I did before Dave came home!), to me so this is what we did. We both sat in the kitchen drinking wine and chatting while I made us dinner. I made something that was un-fussy but still managed to make the house smell wonderful. That’s one of the reasons I hate takeout: no good kitchen smell lingering in the air as you eat!

Mortadella from Bolonga

Mortadella from Bologna. Mortadella hails from Italy and is a large finely ground heat-cured pork hash that is compressed into a large sausage shape. It has added cubes of pork fat and spices. It can also contain things like black pepper, berries or pistachios. I like the pistachio version the best. You can find it at really good delicatessen counters or Italian grocery stores. It’s great thinly sliced on sandwiches or used like I did: chopped and added to a pasta dish.

The thing I didn’t want to do was shop for ingredients, so I made do with what I had. I had lots of garlic, and there is always olive oil and pasta in my pantry so that settled it. I wanted to make a simple garlicky oil that my spaghetti would lovingly cling to. I also had a few ounces of mortadella (read about it above) that was on the verge of expiring so I decided to fry it with the garlic. Mortadella has good fat content so I knew it would add to the oily sauce in a yummy way.

The Ultimate Cheese!

The Ultimate Cheese: Parmigiano Reggiano

The reason this was a “romantic” dish is simply because we were alone! But, I do think there is something romantic about pasta. It is so instantly satisfying and appreciates olive oil and garlic the way I do. Pasta like spaghetti, is also fun to eat right out of the pan while the person you love twirls their fork next to you. The other love affair I have is with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  I adore this grainy, strong and heavenly cheese with a passion – surly that merits romance!

uyfo6g

Dave add some fresh crunchy spinach to his plate before helping himself to mounds of pasta.

 We ate heartily until there wasn’t a stand of spaghetti left. It was true pasta love!

*Of course you can double this recipe if it is for 4!*

_____________________________________________________

*To make this a Blood Type A Diet Recipe simple omit the mortadella and chili. If you want to add some protein, try throwing in enough good quality canned sardines for two right before you toss the pasta into the pan. Also don’t forget your spinach!*

You will need:

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

4 med/large cloves garlic – very finely chopped or minced

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes) – optional

4 oz mortadella – medium dice (pancetta or diced bacon will also work here)

1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – grated

1/2 lb good quality spaghetti (barilla is easy to find)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1 – Put pasta water on the stove top immediately with a good teaspoon or two of salt and a little olive oil. Cook according to instructions making sure to not over cook. Scoop out a cup of the hot pasta cooking water right before draining and set aside.

Cook Pasta in water with some salt and a drop of oil

Cook Pasta in water with some salt and a drop of oil

2 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and when it has warmed add the oil. Add the garlic to the pan and stir it into the oil. After about 2 minutes (don’t have the heat so high as to allow the garlic to burn or brown!), add the cayenne pepper flakes (if using) and the chopped mortadella. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes stirring frequently.

fry mortadella with garlic and olive oil

fry mortadella with garlic and olive oil

3 – Have this timed so the pasta is cooked at the same time (in other words, start your garlic and oil about 5 minutes before the pasta is ready to be drained) and add immediately to the garlicky oil. Add a little pasta cooking water (about a 1/4 cup) to loosen it up if it needs it. Add the cup of grated cheese and stir it into the pasta dish. Taste for addition of salt and/or black pepper. Remove from heat.

Add cooked spaghetti and mix in parm cheese

Add cooked spaghetti and mix in parm cheese

 Serve in warmed bowls with drizzle of extra-virgin oil and some more cheese (if you have a really good quality oil that you save for special occasions, now is the time to break it out!).

Serve in warmed bowls (or eat straight form the pan with a couple of forks!)

Serve in warmed bowls (or eat straight from the pan with a couple of forks!)

 

 

 

PASTA DISH INSPIRED BY EATALY NYC – SO DELICIOUS, SO INSPIRED

My friend Celine and I live in the same town but somehow never manage to see each other alone, always only able to grab 5 minute conversations here and there in the midst of gatherings with family and/or friends.

Eataly!

Eataly  – NYC

We have tried in vain to make a plan to have lunch together and last Friday was no different. We were set to have lunch by hook or by crook but that ended up being the day I had to go to New York City!; “why don’t I come along”, said Celine “and we can have lunch together in the city??” This was the perfect solution as I also killed two birds with one stone; I managed to have lunch with Celine while also taking her around NYC, something we have been talking about doing for about 10 years!

Flatiron building, NYC

Flatiron building, NYC

She had only been to the city a handful of times and it was time for her to experience the city from a less touristy point of view. In the space of 12 hours she learned how the streets run north/south and the Avenues east/west, how easy and convenient the subway is, how the lower East Side differs from Uptown and at how mind-bending the Flatiron building is when you look straight up its walls! Oh, she also fell in love with the giant Italian Marketplace, Eataly!

One of the Pasta Aisles in Eataly -

One of the Pasta Aisles in Eataly

 It was a simple day where Celine told me to do exactly what I came to do and she would be my shadow. After I had taken care of what I had come to the city to do, we took the subway to Eataly, in Chelsea. This was where we planned to have lunch while also taking in the fabulous Flatiron building and a lengthy peruse through Eataly’s enormous  grocery, restaurants and all things gastronomic in this giant Italian food emporium. Celine was in heaven!

Well – what I made for dinner last night was a combination of flavors from what we had eaten for lunch the day before. We had an amazing sort of starter Pizza called La Stella, which was a pizza crust mounded with fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil from Sorrento.

Stella Pizza

La Stella Pizza

This was followed by a wonderfully rich but very simple spaghetti dish, Spaghetti Alla Chitarra, which was spaghetti lovingly laced with cheese from Lazio and a strong-handed grinding of black pepper. This was all washed down with a red wine from Lombardia (Valtellina Superiore “Quadrio” 2010, Nino Negri) which was a perfect foil for the black pepper and peppery arugula – (if I do say so myself! It is affordable if you can find it – under $15 a bottle).

My spaghetti of choice in an ideal world: Rigorosa Spaghetti Pasta

My spaghetti of choice in an ideal world: Rigorosa Spaghetti Pasta

I bought the body of my ingredients from Eataly’s market before leaving with the intention of treating my family to a taste of my lunch for dinner! It was a fantastic take on the flavors and I’m so glad I decided that it was worthy of documented before I donned my apron for the evening.

Spaghetti with Arugula, ham and pepper

Spaghetti with Arugula, ham and pepper

It captured the essence of my experience in Eataly with Celine to a tee. This dish was made in the time it took to boil the water and cook the pasta; the perfect meal when you don’t have lots of time. I mixed arugula, cheese and cooked pork into my garlicky spaghetti. I also added some finely chopped rosemary from my garden to flavor the oil instead of basil, and it was nothing short of bliss with every toothsome mouthful.

The rosemary in my garden is still going strong - I had better remeber to dig it up and take it indoors for the winter. There is a hole in my life if I have to resort to dried herb container!

The rosemary in my garden is still going strong – I had better remember to dig it up and take it indoors for the winter. There is a hole in my life when I have to resort to little bottles of dried herbs !

 I was aware when cooking this that it did not have to have meat. The pepper, cheese and arugula could stand up very well on its own. I did boost the protein for those of us that craved it with a couple of sunny-side-up fried eggs.

The eggs are a great substutide for meat in this dish

The eggs are a great substitute for meat in this dish

 Thank you Celine and Eataly for the inspiration for this wonderful dish. Where to for lunch next?

________________________________________________

*For Blood Type A Diet please make the following changes: Omit the meat, add eggs (if desired). Omit the pepper flakes and black pepper, (and cheese if you are very strict). You could substitute with a different cheese that is easier on your digestive system, like feta or mozzarella*

 You will need:

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 medium sweet onion – small dice

3 or 4 cloves garlic – finely chopped or minced

1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves – finely chopped

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

1 tsp sea salt (I used Maldon sea salt flakes – if using a very fine salt, use a 1/2 tsp at a time and taste to add more)

4 oz arugula  – roughly chopped if large. Left whole if leaves are small

8 oz spinach leaves – chopped if large

8 oz  cooked/cured ham – chopped (optional)

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

several grinds of black pepper (optional)

1 lb good quality spaghetti (I used Rigorosa Brand  – pictured below but Barilla brand is also good)

1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked pasta water (scoop two cups of the cooking water from pasta pot right before draining cooked pasta)

Method:

1 – Put a big pot of water on to boil for pasta and cook according to instruction. Important: subtract about 2 minutes from the recommended cooking time and at that point taste the pasta. If it still has a little “give” when you bite it, you can drain it. BEFORE draining, scoop out two cups of the pasta cooking water and set aside.

cook pasta

cook pasta

2 – Put large shallow pan on low/medium heat and when it has warmed add the oil. Add the diced onions and cook for 2 minutes or so before adding the garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped rosemary, salt and pepper flakes (if using) and stir. Turn to low and cover the pan for another 3 minutes to allow the onions to soften.

gy

Cook onions, garlic and add seasoning.

3 – When pasta has cooked, drain (reserving pasta water) and add directly to the pan. Top with the greens, cheese and ham and toss everything to blend. Add 1 cup of the hot pasta water and stir. Add several grinds of black pepper and taste for further addition of salt. Add more pasta water if you want it to feel looser (I added about 1 3/4 cups of water by the time I was satisfied).

jkygf

Add greens, cheese, pepper and ham. Taste and season further

 Serve immediately, topped with more grated cheese if you like.

mhgf

Serve immediately and pass more cheese and pepper at the table.

If you are frying eggs instead of using ham, fry eggs right before you serve.

kyug

Substitute eggs for the ham

Lots of freedom with this dish!

Change it up and top your pasta with fried eggs!

Change it up and top your pasta with fried eggs!

 

A Yummy Sausage and Pasta Dinner – Quick! (serves 6)

Have you every had one of those crazy spontaneous moments and asked people over to dinner that evening and it is already 5 o’ clock! Of course you have done this, and then arrived home to find yourself in a panic over what you can pull together quickly while screaming out loud, “what was I thinking inviting people over tonight!!!!”” That’s when you zoom to the supermarket (or do this before you go home to avoid this panic attack) and buy the few things you need to make this gorgeous, crowd-pleasing dinner! It is also a super inexpensive main course for six.

Quick and easy dinner for six!

Quick and easy dinner for six!

I also think when you see how easy this is, you might also decide to make a batch of brownies while everyone is sitting around after dinner: yes, it’s what I did and I wasn’t taxed a bit! (Recipe for Brownies below)

___________________________________

You will need:

2 tbs olive oil

1 lb seasoned sausage (I used an Apple & Onion, but feel free to grab whatever is available: mild Italian, garlic, wine & herbs, etc – * If I were on the East coast of Ireland I would use Lavistown Sausages*)

ALSO: you can use chicken or turkey sausage

1 large Vidalia (sweet) onion, small dice

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 celery ribs, including leaves, diced

4 sprigs fresh thyme (if you don’t have it, don’t worry)

4 cups chopped fresh spinach

2 tsp curry powder (any favorite variety)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 1/2 bouillon cube & water)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 lb medium pasta shells (I use Barilla brand)

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (if you have it on hand)

*This can easily be a Blood Type A Diet recipe by using a poultry sausage (chicken or turkey) Also, substitute the cream with more stock (veggie or whole bouillon cube) and, if you are really strict, omitting the curry powder and chili flakes*

Method:

*Put large pot of water on for pasta, add about 2 tsp coarse salt to water. Cook according to instructions and reserve about 3/4 cup pasta water before draining. do not rinse pasta with cold water. It will take the pot of water about 5 or so minutes to come to a boil and the shells will take anywhere from 9 to 11 minutes (check package for cooking time). This adds up to about 16 to 20 minutes, so time the pasta to be ready at the same time as it is required in the dish*

first: dice onion, chop garlic

First: dice onion, chop garlic

1 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and a the oil. When it has warmed add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove sausage casing by cutting the entire lenght of the sausge adn sliding it off. then it is easy to cut or break the sasge into your pan

Remove sausage casing by cutting the entire length of the sausage and sliding it off. Then it is easy to cut or break the meat into your pan

2 – While onions are cooking remove the sausage from casing (instructions above)

kuh

Add Sausage and thyme

3 – Add the sausage to pan be cutting it into pieces as you go, or breaking it off into pieces with your hands. Add the thyme and celery. Turn pan up slightly and cook the sausage for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until starting to brown on all sides.

Add curry powder

Add curry powder

4 – Add the curry powder (and bouillon cube if using) and stir into sausage mixture until everything looks golden.

Add the liquids, then the spinach

Add the liquids, then the spinach

5 – Add the broth (or water) and let it come to a simmer. Add the cream and wait until it is also simmering before adding the chopped spinach. Cover and lower heat until everything is at a very gently simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and taste sauce and add salt and pepper if needed (purely personal). Add the just-drained shells and stir. If you like a looser sauce, add some of the reserved pasta water (and a little cream if you like) until desired consistency is reached.

Serve

Serve

Serve in warmed shallow bowls with a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano.

lovely brownies

If you want to make brownies quickly, click HERE for recipe!

Barbecue: Irish Style & A Great Recipe! (Spaghetti with Lemon, Greens, & Olives)

Before I begin this post, I want to share with you the official weather forecast for next week from the National Weather Service in Ireland. It is almost poetic:

“There is a possibility that warm Continental air may then push in over Ireland over the following days bringing some fine, summer weather with temperatures well into the twenties. Although this is still far from certain, it is a distinct possibility”

I decided after reading this subtly contradictory weather report,  I could make a decent living as a meteorologist in Ireland.

do you think it will rain?

I have been back home in Ireland 2 weeks today and the topic foremost on everyone’s lips when exchanging casual pleasantries is most definitely the weather, or should I say, the lack of any kind of weather remotely reminiscent of Summer. I shouldn’t even think about jumping on the band wagon since I am lucky enough to get to spend the entire Summer with my family, but it has become a source of amusement for me, and talking about it helps me realize that there may even be benefits to crappy weather and cryptic weather reports!

Spaghetti with Lemon, Greens, & Olives (Recipe below)

This story sums up the Irish weather pretty nicely: The day after I arrived in Ireland was breezy and sunny which was a welcome relief after coming from the United States where I was wilting in 100 degree temperatures. I put on a dress and sandals and actually felt a little chilly, but my sister reminded me that this was warm for her and I would acclimate. My sister happy to have me around decided that for it to fully feel like Summer was officially here she should buy a barbecue (which she did!).  As it turned out, that was the only real nice day for the next two weeks.

Summer Skies

It was always the same: I would wake up in the morning, open the curtains and the sky would look promising, with bits of blue sky visible through vast swaths of very puffy clouds. I would make plans to go to a beach, or for a walk or to visit some ruined castle or other, and right when we were all packed and heading for fun, the rain would come pelting down. Plans would change, substituted for a possible museum visit, movie, or even just relaxing inside with a book, and then the sun would come out. I made the sensible decision to get back into long pants with a sweater handy, and stop smiling and pretending to be perfectly happy in t-shirts and shorts – brrrr!

Tom was in charge of the barbecuing

That is until two days ago when miracle of miracles, late in the morning the sun came out and decided to stay. What would I do with all this fine weather? Right when I was planning a possible outing to a beach, our friend Tom appeared at the back door. My earliest memory of Tom’s family was when I was about 8 or 9 years old, and going to his house just before Christmas, where his father who was a doctor, had a clinic. It was late in the evening and I remember driving the three miles to his house in the cold and dark, shivering in the back of the car under a blanket. I remember his rolled up shirt sleeves, and his hands smelling of soap as he felt my glands while consoling me saying I would feel better soon. People you spend your life in close proximity to, even if your ties are just the fact that you lived in the same town,  shopped in the same supermarket and knew the same bumps on the roads when you rode your bike, are connections that bind you to those people for your entire life. You have a shared commonality and familiar things are automatic magnetizers.

the engineers at work

So when Tom showed up at the back door I didn’t think twice about telling him he just had to assemble the barbecue that had been sitting in a box for the past two weeks. He told me that all of “the sisters” in our house were the same, ordering him to do something for them at a moment’s notice. I ignored his complaining and handed him scissors to cut the black binding holding the box together. A half hour later my nephew Colm appeared, calling in to see his cousins for the first time since last year. After lots of hugs and excited hellos we headed to the backyard only to find Tom looking slightly overwhelmed with finicky metal barbecue parts and an even more confusing instruction manual.

the back garden

Colm was ordered to work by his Auntie (that would be me!) and after about two hours our shiny new barbecue was ready to be fired up. The joke throughout the assemble process was that it would rain the moment plans were made to actually have a barbecue. And, right when the last bolt was in place and the grill was situated along the wall by the backdoor steps, it began to rain. I quickly covered the top with the box as we had no cover for it yet and said there would be a barbecue no matter what the weather and that Tom was invited. He said he would be happy to show up “if it wasn’t raining”

Prosecco (in my mother’s Millenium Waterford Crystal Champagne flutes.

Well, it stopped raining and the sun (mixed with clouds of course) came out. June arrived home armed with lots of meat and vegetables for grilling. I felt like it was Summer for the first time and switched from drinking red wine to opening a bottle of fresh, crisp prosecco which myself and June drank from my mother’s precious Millenium Waterford Crystal glasses, as a reminder of her, and how she loved a good dinner party. Tom arrived amused that it wasn’t raining, and less amused when I told him he was in charge of barbecuing everything that needed barbecuing! I took care of the pasta dish, made sure the table was set and that glasses were topped up. And, when another old friend of the family showed up he was promptly handed a drink, and it appeared that a family reunion of sorts was under way.

Swingball: an old game I used to play that has been revived, and now my kids are addicted.

As food was being cooked, talk finally drifted from the weather, and when I noticed this change, it dawned on me how much we all had being obsessing and pinning our hopes of happiness upon whether the sun would shine or not? If this was winter, we would have accepted the constant gloom and gotten on with our lives. I decided to try as hard as I could to forget about the fact that it was summer, and that if it rained all day long for the next 6 weeks (please God, no!), I would do my utmost to make the best of it.

miraculously, no rain, so we dined outside!

We ate outside, enjoying the light breeze while catching up on everyone’s news. We all had ravenous appetites and even ate the bits of meat that Tom half apologised for burning. It was his very first forray into being the grill master, but now he was more experienced than most of the people eating dinner together, which means he will most likely be roped into doing it again!

Did it rain when the table was cleared and we had just gotten ourselves inside the house: most definitely.

_____________________________

Spaghetti With Lemon, Greens & Olives (serves 4-6)

*This dish can be a Blood Type A Friendly Diet Dish if you omit the Butter & Black Olives (green are fine)*

You will need:

juice & zest of 1 large lemon

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or, 1 good quality bouillon cube & 1 1/2 cups water)

1 head escarole, washed & roughly chopped *you could also use 3 heads of Little Gem lettuce or 2 heads of Butter or Boston lettuce*

2 cups chopped greens such as lettuce or spinach leaves (to be added at the end)

1 1/2 cups mixed green and black olive (try to use something good like Kalamata)

1 tbs chopped thyme leaves

2 tbs good quality extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb spaghetti pasta (I use Barilla brand)

1 tsp sea-salt, and more to taste (I use Maldon sea-salt flakes)

2 tbs unsalted butter (optional)

Method:

1 – Cook pasta according to instructions. While pasta is cooking, get the rest of the dish ready.

swirl bouillon cube in pan

2 – Put large saute pan (one that will hold the completed dish) on low/medium heat and add the bouillon cube to the pan with about 2 tbs of water. If not using bouillon cube, go to next step.

Add lemon juice, zest and butter

3 – When bouillon cube has turned to a pasta, add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1 tbs of the butter and swirl ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Add the rest of the broth (or water), along with the salt and bring to a simmer.

add lettuce

4 – Add the chopped greens and cover pan with lid and simmer very gently for 5 minutes.

add spaghetti

5 – While broth is simmering, chop thyme leaves and combine with the olives and extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl. When pasta has cooked, drain and add to simmered broth, along with the olive mixture, 1 tbs butter, and 2 cups of reserved chopped greens. Turn off pan. Taste for addition of salt and freshly ground pepper.

add olives

Serve as it (which would then lend itself to some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese) or with whatever protein you would like along with it (in our case barbecue chicken, sausages and grilled onions!)

Suki enjoying the lovely day

Late night Spaghetti with Capers & Raw Tomatoes (serves 2)

A great dish..

Last night we met some people for an early  dinner. There is not much around here by way of a good restaurant (even a decent one!). The place we went to specialized in Italian-like pizzeria food such as stromboli, calzones and of course pizza. Everything was fine for what it was but the portions were so gargantuan it was bordering on embarrassing when they brought the food to the table. My friend’s calzone was so enormous I thought the contents could have given birth to a small pig right on the table –  a sickening image I know, but that’s what came to mind when I saw it! Quantities of food like that make me loose my appetite. The restaurant must spend a fortune on take-home containers (as well as being non-recyclable) as every person seemed to leave with a stack of them.

When dinner is early like that I always get peckish for a little late night supper. The kids were in bed and it was just the two of us. I had received a jar of anchovies from my friend and have been dying to use one little pungent morsel in something? As I was hunting for them I found a jar of capers. I was all set. This is a lively fresh dish and is so fast to make. Everything is done by the time the pasta is ready to be drained – faster than “fast food!”

This would be a lovely quick thing to make for company. You could get home late, open a bottle of wine and by the time you have a glass dinner could be on the table – get cooking!

Handy items to have on hand - anchovies, capers, tomatoes, parsley..

You will need: 1/3 lb spaghetti, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 1 good ripe tomato, cored, seeded & finely diced, 1 anchovy fillet, chopped, 1 tbs capers, drained & rinsed, 2 tbs fresh fl;at-leaf parsley, chopped, 2 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil.

1 – Put water on for pasta. When it boils, cook according to instructions.

2 – Prep all ingredients as instructed. Put saute pan on low/medium heat and add oil. Put anchovy and garlic into pan and saute gently for 3 minutes, mashing anchovy and stirring as you go.

turn heat down a little to prevent garlic from browning..

3 – Add capers and continue to cook for a minute. Add parsley and stir everything.

4 – At this point pasta will be done. Drain and immediately toss tomatoes and pasta into the pan. Give a stir and divide between two warmed bowls. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper if needed or wanted.

fast, fresh & fabulous..