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tapenade pasta with roasted tomatoes

April 17, 2010

Ah, Rachael Ray… some love her, some hate her, some love to hate her. I personally think her enthusiasm is sometimes a liiiiittle irritating if I’m say, tired or in a grouchy mood. Yet, by and large, I think she’s fantastic, and I truly love her show 30 Minute Meals. I have learned a lot about cooking from watching that show. Little tricks about adding flavor to things, how to chop things, how to put a meal together in a jiffy, out of nothing, like a magic trick. I also love her no-nonsense approach “whatever you like” is often an ingredient. My kind of gal. There is a funny story behind this tapenade pasta. I was sitting on the couch on Monday watching the show. She made this pasta and I immediately got off the couch, bought the ingredients, and made this pasta. It was fantastic. The roasted tomatoes add a nice sweet and smoky contrast to the salty olives and capers. (Rachael Ray added anchovies to hers. I decided to, um, skip them.)  It also happened to be a really gorgeous day out, so we ate outside. Perfection.

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta (I used gluten free spaghetti, but whatever you like)                                                                  

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded seeded                                                                      

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano.                                                                                                                   

3 tablespoons capers    

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes                                                                                                     

3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup packed, pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped, with some brine 

salt

pepper

olive oil 

salt

pepper

cheese for serving (parmesan or pecorino  romano)                                                                                                         

Procedure

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cook Pasta according to package directions

3. Meanwhile, season the tomatoes with salt, pepper and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil. Place tomatoes on a cooling rack atop a baking sheet (so the tomatoes are not resting directly on the baking sheet). Roast for 20 minutes.

4. While the tomatoes roast, heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the capers, red pepper flakes, garlic, olives, and a splash of olive brine. Let sautee  3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add about 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

5. Divide the pasta into bowls and top with roasted tomatoes and freshly grated cheese

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