April 2, 2012

Easy Olive and Tomato Pasta

We love pasta and olive oil and herbs and olives and tomatoes. We just LOVE them. Jaden (2.5 years) made the sauce for tonight's dinner - that's how easy this is. Ok - he wasn't at the stove stirring it - but he put in all the ingredients himself on the counter and then handed me the pan. It's rich, creamy, easy, and totally yummy. Only have 15 minutes to make dinner? This is your ticket to happiness! 

There are two tricks that make this happen without any cheese. Trick one: use about 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water in the sauce. Trick two: don't cook the pasta all the way and then add it with some of it's water to the sauce and saute together. I'm telling you, your pasta will improve 314%. And there will be no cheese or cream in it. And you'll feel better and not have to worry about eating creamy pasta. It's a beautiful thing. For me, this dish has really strong connection to both Italy and Spain. Pasta is obviously a very Italian food, and the water trick comes straight from the Italian Mamas. But the olives and tomatoes - just the overall color and look of this dish is very Spanish for me. In any case, my mind is not in America when I eat this wonderful food. 

Serves 4. Makes great leftovers. 
  • Pasta for 4 people - any kind of dried pasta works. Use what you have or pick up your fav
  • 1 can diced tomatoes - make sure there is nothing else in the can except tomatoes and water
  • 1 jar olives - we used green stuffed with red peppers and they were delish
  • Olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon pesto 
  • Freshly ground pepper 
  • Dried Italian herbs (we use the one from Costco) - if you have fresh herbs, use them!
  • Garlic powder 
  • Sea salt
  1. Boil water in a pot with a generous pinch of salt
  2. Add pasta and cook until al-dente. Drain and reserve 1/3 cup of the water. 
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the cooked pasta, pasta cooking water, tomatoes, olives, and pesto. Saute for three minutes. Add seasonings. Saute another three minutes. 
  4. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Saute another 5 minutes. Taste. Season as needed.  
  5. Serve. 


Amy and Jason said...

Ok, this looks AMAZING. I wonder if I can do it without the pesto since pesto most commonly has nuts in it of some kind, and the little one can't have nuts just yet. hmmm....

Melissa Robertson said...

YES! You don't need to add pesto - or you can make nut and dairy free pesto (just basil and olive oil).