As the warmer weather approaches, a refreshing one-pan pasta dinner prepared in a short amount of time sounds very appealing. This approach cooks the pasta in the ingredients that will reduce in a sauce; it’s a one-pan process.
The components are Greek themed, with pitted Kalamata olives, feta cheese, fresh herbs and tomatoes coming to the pasta party. In order for the spaghetti to cook properly, you should use thin spaghetti, sometimes labeled ‘spaghettini’. It cooks better if the stands are divided into 3 or 4 bundles and broken in half before being added to the pot, an undertaking considered by some to be a culinary crime. Your choise.
One-pan thin spaghetti with tomatoes, olives and feta
Yield: 4 servings
1 1/4 pounds cherry tomatoes, different colors if possible
12 ounces uncooked thin spaghetti (spaghettini), broken in half
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 cups of water, plus more if needed in step 2
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided use
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, crushed gently
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces (1 cup) crumbled feta cheese, preferably Mediterranean style
1/4 cup packed fresh mint or basil
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven that is about 9 1/2-inches wide, stir together tomatoes, spaghetti, stock, water, 1 teaspoon salt, and ground red pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Crush tomatoes in the pan with the back of a spoon. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and liquid thickens and reduces slightly, about 6 minutes. (Add additional water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce reaches desired consistency.)
3. Stir in the olives, black pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. If using dry oregano, stir it in. Divide the pasta mixture evenly among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with feta, mint or basil and fresh oregano if desired. Drizzle with oil.
Source: Adapted from “Food and Wine One Pot Meals” (Food and Wine Books, $34.99)
Cooking question? Please contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected]