Friday, June 16, 2006

Lemon and Green Olive Pasta Salad

When I taste lemon, olive oil, onion and green olives together, I think about sunshine. There is something about this particular combination that makes me think of cool Mediterranean breezes on a sunny veranda. One of these days, DD and I will make to the Mediterranean - to Italy and to France and to Lebanon. Some day.

So, I was immediately intrigued when this recipe arrived in my email from the vegetarian yahoo group. I couldn't resist tinkering with it, of course, and this is the result. Oh man, was this delicious! We ate and ate until we couldn't fit any more, and then DD ate it for breakfast this morning. Tonight, she begged me to make some more. That's how good this was.

Lemon and Green Olive Pasta Salad

8 oz salad pasta, cooked al dente
1 C sliced green olives stuffed with pimento
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scant tsp dried oregano
grated zest of half a large lemon
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C best quality extra virgin olive oil
1 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
salt and pepper to taste

Set the pasta water to boil. While the pasta is cooking to the al dente stage, get a large serving bowl and begin to create the salad. To the bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic and oregano. Slice the olives and add to the bowl, then the onions and the tomatoes. Toss well and taste for salt and pepper. It should be a little on the salty side because the pasta is very bland and needs the salt. I used about 1/2 tsp of salt and about 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes. Toss well. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the bowl, mixing well. Eat warm or at room temperature for best flavor.

Notes: The original recipe did not include the tomatoes or the garlic, but I thought they would taste delicious, which they did. The original recipe also called for grated dry jack or parmesan, and I decided to leave this out because it tasted so delicious without it. To make a complete meal from this, I would add some cooked shrimp, or a can of rinsed and drained beans. I think this would taste delicious with some corn and minced cilantro for a Mexican flavor! This pasta salad should travel very well because there is no mayonnaise or eggs.

Five stars from dear daughter. She wants to give more stars, but five is all we have!

Time from start to finish: 20 minutes

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