Monday, April 30, 2012

Gemelli with Fresh Herbs and Chopped Olives

I'm always looking for fast, easy, and delicious pasta recipes I can throw together on the fly. As much as I love a good, complicated, fresh pasta affair, it's a necessity to have a few of these straight-forward and reliable recipes under your belt for a weeknight meal. I love olives intensely, and found them to be an excellent addition to the fresh herb, garlic, and tomato sauce that joins the chewy and sturdy gemelli pasta in this dish. As tomato season approaches, I am sure there will be more pasta dishes like this prepared throughout the summer. Hope you all enjoy!

Gemelli with Fresh Herbs and Chopped Olives
Makes 4 servings
(From The Glorious Pasta of Italy)

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed
3 T. mixed chopped fresh herbs (such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme)
1 cup coarsely chopped pitted gaeta or kalamata olives, plus 2 T. brine from the olives
2 1/2 lbs plum tomatoes, seeded and grated
Kosher or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. gemelli, fusilli, or other short, sturdy pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously.

While the water is heating, warm the oil and garlic in a large frying pan placed over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the garlic releases its fragrance. Sprinkle in the herbs and the olives and brine and raise the heat to medium. Stir to combine and saute for about 1 minute, then pour in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have been reduced to a creamy sauce. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir to separate, cook according to the manufacturer's directions until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss the pasta and sauce until thoroughly combined, adding a splash or two of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Transfer the dressed pasta to warmed shallow individual bowls and serve immediately.


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