Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Foodie - ziti with fresh tomato-olive sauce

This a recipe from my new cookbook**.

We loved it

It was a fantastically easy one pot meal. One pot!! JR not only loved to eat this dish but the one pot clean up sold him on having it more often.

I could go on and on; singing the praises of this dish but really you have to try this. No, honestly you have to. Don't make me come over there and make it for you cuz that's just going to cost you.

Ziti with fresh tomato-olive sauce
*Starred items denote the changes I made in the original because I.Can't.Follow.Directions! It must be genetic. Or maybe my frenetic personality makes it impossible to follow simple directions. Village idiots can follow directions better than I can. Whatever, most often we win. Culinarily (screw you blogger I'm making that a word) speaking.

8 ounces ziti*
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives*
1/3 cup packed shredded fresh basil leaves*
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons capers, drained (optional)*
1 3/4 pounds ripe tomatoes, halved crosswise (about 4 large)*
4 ounces goat cheese or feta, crumbled, or 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (the recipe says this is optional. I say cheese is never optional.)*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, combine the olives, basil, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, capers if desired, and red pepper flakes. Place a strainer*

over the serving bowl and squeeze juice and guts from the tomato halves into the strainer. (Push on the seeds with the back of a wooden spoon to extract the tomato liquid.) Discard the seeds. Coarsely chop the tomato carcasses

and add them to the olive mixture, tossing well.
3. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl, tossing well. Sprinkle (or in my case cover) with cheese if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 8

Per serving: 163 calories * 5g protein *4g fat *27g carbohydrates *0 cholesterol *305mg
sodium *2g fiber

I forgot to take a picture before I put this dish on the table. It was so pretty. Then the vultures that I call family descended on this poor serving bowl like it was fresh road kill. There was barely enough left for my lunch the next day. It was a sad sight.

I made changes to this recipe because, as you all know, I firmly believe in using only things you have on hand. My theory is; "if you have to go out for special ingredients make something else".

Lets talk about the changes I made:

* I used whole wheat Rotini. A little extra fiber never goes amiss.
* I had Kalamata olives in the house but I had something that was even better. An 8 ounce container of olive brushetta topping that I got on a manager's special real cheap. I used all of this and omitted the olive oil and garlic since the topping had garlic and olive oil in it.
* I didn't measure out how much basil I used. I walked out to the yard and grabbed a huge handful, almost ripping it out from the roots, and chewed on a piece while I was chopping up the rest. Don't have fresh? I say go for the dried stuff. Just remember it is stronger so you'll want to cut down the amount. Also, let it sit in the tomato mixture for awhile to rehydrate.
* Capers were so optional for me. I hate them. I don't even have a clue whether JR likes them or not because I never ever buy them. Don't let my absolute loathing of all things caper stop you though.
* Use a strainer with really small holes otherwise this step is pointless.
* I used fresh tomatoes but if you don't have them I'd just toss in a can or two of diced tomatoes
* The crumbled goat cheese I tossed on the top took this dish from pretty good to freaking fabulous. If you have goat cheese at your house (and I always do) do not skip this step. I guess Parmesan will do. Try it and tell me what you think.

I hope you all love this one as much as we did.


This is a perfect Meatless Monday dinner. It takes very little time to make, there is virtually no clean up, and it is very low in calories. What could be better than that after a long day at work? Oh sure there's THAT but you know I try to keep this blog PG; with the exception of the other day but who's counting.

**Vegetarian Times Cooks Mediterranean. From the editors of Vegetarian Times. 1999


  1. That looks great Michele. We had spaghetti last night, but of course it was with MEAT sauce AND MEATballs. Mangia and Cheers!!

  2. I might be able to do this - I loooooove goat cheese and I don't care much for capers. I like ripe olives and love olive oil and adore garlic, too.

    Of course, it's 7:22 a.m. and I haven't eaten, but this is making my stomach growl.

  3. The photo looks delicious, but when I started reading the recipe I got slightly distracted by the number of * denoting alterations in the recipe.

  4. Looks good. Except for the whole wheat pasta. We don't like to eat healthy at my house.

    I'm also anti caper. I always ignore the suggestion to add capers in any recipe. I can't imagine that it makes a difference.

    Have a great weekend!!!

  5. One pot dinners rule!! I usually won't/don't prepare things that make more than one pot messy. Hahaha, I'm lazier than Michele, WHOOO HOOO!!!

    Happy July 4th Everybody!

  6. Oy, the olives throw me off here. I could see getting around those and thoroughly enjoying this meal. Or just licking the screen, Won't taste as good, but will probably kill the appetite just the same. :-)

  7. OMG this looks so fabulous! I can't wait to try it. I can smell the basil from here! You cook like I do....change is good!

  8. Nummy Nummy!!!

    Thank you for the recipe!!!

  9. That dish looks amazing. Do you think it would still taste ok if I omitted the olives? Yuck on olives.

  10. okay Michele. P. is gone and I am going to make this dish SANS THE OLIVES. I need a dish from you with no olives. But this one seems like it will work without them. am I right?

  11. That looks sensational! I don't do meat so this would be something I'd love.