Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fusilli Pasta with Tomatoes and Olives

October 25 is World Pasta Day, or so the people at Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant tell me. Who I am to argue? I've never needed an excuse to eat pasta, but passing up a chance to celebrate it would go against my foodie nature.

It's also the beginning of fall, and all those wonderful tomatoes are more than ready to be eaten. Either that or canned. Before you get your canner out, let me offer this recipe that's heavy on that fresh tomato flavor, and will help us all celebrate World Pasta Day: Fusilli with Tomatoes and Green Olives. While the pasta must be cooked, this is a salse crude – an uncooked sauce.

Fusilli, is a long, thick, corkscrew shaped pasta and if often confused with rotini, its twisted cousin. Rotini has a tighter helix; fusilli is more like very long, twisted macaroni. Either pasta will do for this sauce, however.

If you want to use other types of pasta, that's fine. Almost any will do, but I would recommend something that will be able hold on to the chunks of tomato and olive.

Equipment needed
Kitchen knife
mixing bowls
measuring cups and spoons
large saucepan

3 ounces Green Olives, chopped
10 Fresh Basil Leaves, torn into small pieces
1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 pound Tomatoes, fresh vine ripened or cherry tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 pound Fusilli (corkscrew) Pasta
Salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Parmesan, mozzarella, or capers to garnish

Combine the tomatoes, olives, basil, red pepper, garlic and olive oil in a small bowl. Let marinade while the pasta cooks to blend the flavors. If you don't have fresh basil, a few teaspoons of dried basil will do nicely.

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta cook until al dente, then drain.

Add salt and pepper to the sauce, seasoning to taste. Toss with the cooked pasta. Top with mozzarella cheese, capers, or grated Parmesan as desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 – 6 servings

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