I first made this dish several years ago for a ladies’ night I was hosting at my house. Instantly a hit, I knew I’d be adding it to my list of favorite easy meals. Adding (or not adding) the meat at the very end makes it vegetarian friendly. There is a lot of dumping from jars and cans into a pan involved and not a lot of cutting and chopping. The fresh basil makes it perfect for summer and summer it is, as evidenced by the heatwave we’ve been experiencing here in the Midwest. Let’s get started.
Here are the required jars and cans and bags and boxes. You know what else would be good? Capers. I left them out for some reason…oh, because I wanted them for something else. Hopefully that something else is as worthy as this pasta.
Of course, we’re going to have to boil the noodles beforehand. When my mom was cooking, I used to steal the uncooked spaghetti before the water boiled and crunch away. Sometimes I would challenge my sister to a noodle duel. The pasta swords splintered and shattered wonderfully, and the cleanup was as easy as brushing them under the stove. Evidence of pasta-drawn combat erased.
Moving on. Garlic and sun-dried tomatoes go into the pan first with a little olive oil. If you have a jar of sun-dried tomatoes floating in olive oil, just drain some off the top and dump them in, omitting the extra oil. I opted for a bag of julienned sun-drieds today because I usually have one around to top off salads. (Wonderful with avocado on spring mix greens with balsamic vinaigrette.)
Then we start with the dumping. First dump some of these in.
Then pluck the basil leaves off the plant and dump those into your pan as well. Let it cook a few minutes.
Stir it around until the basil starts to wilt. You’re looking at two minutes here. Just enough time for you to start daydreaming about actually visiting Europe and Italy, Greece, Crete, anywhere near that blue sea.
Cream makes everything better. No lie. Coffee, oatmeal, mac and cheese, cheesecake, pickles. Okay, maybe not everything, but most things. If you are afraid of the cream, substitute milk, but drop the quantity down. Milk is runnier than cream.
Season with your spices, stir, and that’s it. We’re ready for the pasta.
Then stir it all together with your al dente noodles that have been patiently waiting all of 3 minutes.
If you’re the carnivorous type, grilled chicken with salt and pepper, maybe a spice blend if you have one. Nothing fancy, just straight up and quick. Don’t like chicken? Shrimp may be in order.
This obviously calls for a glass (or two) of wine. This came from a closeout sale when one of the neighborhood liquor stores decided not to renew their liquor license. We now have to drive to their other location, four miles away.
Croissant rolls optional.
|Wish I Was There Mediterranean Pasta|
3 tablespoons olive oil
16-ounce box angel hair pasta
1 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
6 ounces crumbled feta
1/4 cup (or so) heavy cream
2 teaspoons dried oregano
cracked black pepper
4 grilled chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper
Boil water and 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook angel hair to al dente according to package directions, usually 4-5 minutes. While pasta is boiling, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add drained artichokes, olives, feta and basil. Don’t forget about your pasta. Drain it and return it to the pot. Sauté the sauce ingredients for 1 more minute. Stir in heavy cream and Oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add sauce to the angel hair; stir well to combine. Top with grilled chicken if desired. Serve.
Makes 7-8 servings.