Monday, June 18, 2007

Pasta with spicy peas and olives

So sorry for the long absence! I've been eating, though not cooking a whole lot. I've been crazy busy with preparations for the consecration of my church and working on some icon commissions, so I've kept the kitchen duty to a minimum.

Tonight, the boyfriend came over for dinner, and I was running late from work, and it is a fast period, so...... it had to be pasta! Last weekend, I cleaned my fridge and freezer, making a list of everything, so I already knew that I needed to use up some frozen peas from a half-eaten bag. I also had some fresh herbs that were given to me which needed to be used. I knew I could make something tasty from all this in half an hour, and I did! I made a whole pound of pasta, and there is not one single pea left. I guess that the boyfriend and dear daughter liked it - I sure did.

Its sort of like a cross between pasta puttanesca, pasta and peas and pasta arrabbiata.

Pasta with Spicy Peas and Olives

1 small onion, diced fine
extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
1 carrot, diced fine
3 - 4 Tbs fresh herbs, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C sliced olives
1/4 C red wine (whatever you're drinking)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 C peas
1 lb penne, cooked al dente
parmesan shaved over the top

In a large, deep pan like a chicken fryer, saute the onion in the olive oil, along with the carrot, until it is translucent and soft. Add in the herbs and garlic, adding a few drops more oil to keep it from sticking to the pan. Add in the olives, and wine, sauteeing after each addition. Add the salt and cayenne, then the tomatoes, and let simmer on med-low, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes to meld the flavors.

By this point, the water for the pasta should be boiling, so get that going. You'll have about 10 or 11 minutes' cooking time, so you can set the table, or drink a glass of wine, or make a salad and some toasted garlic bread, which is what I did.

When the pasta is nearly ready, taste the sauce for salt and pepper, then add the peas on top, stirring them in. Add in the cooked pasta with a little bit of the pasta water, maybe 1/4 C or so, and stir it all together. Let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce for about 2 or 3 minutes, till perfectly al dente.

Serve with salad.

For the herbs, I used marjoram, oregano, parsley, and basil, though I used a lot more oregano than I would ever normally do - it just seemed to call for the sharp flavor of oregano more than the soft, licorice quality of basil which is normally my herb of choice. I found that it needed more salt and more pepper for my taste. If I were to make this during a non-fasting period, I think I'd use a couple of anchovy fillets instead of the salt for a richer flavor. I used up some kalamata olives that I had hanging around the fridge, but I think this would be good with any good, flavorful black olive, or even with sliced spanish olives with pimentos. DD and TBF ate theirs with a generous dusting of parmesan, and I'm sure that it was a really delicious addition - I mean, what doesn't taste better with parmesan, eh?

All in all, this was a very light, but still satisfying lenten meal. I asked DD if it was good enough to make again, and she gave me a very emphatic YES!

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