- 2 tablespoons robust olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 leek, pale green section only or 2 shallots or 1 small onion, diced
- 1 palmful of walnut pieces or pine nuts
- 1 chili (select variety according to your pain threshold), diced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried chili peppers or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil, stems removed, and/or fresh thyme or oregano coarsely chopped
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 servings of fresh or dried pasta -- any style or flavor
- grated Italian parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
- Toss in the garlic, leeks and walnuts. Sauté for 4 minutes or until leeks, garlic and nuts are golden.
- Add the herbs and chilies, or chili pepper, and toss for 30 seconds (to unlock their flavors).
- Add tomatoes, olives and pepper.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. At this point, when no one is looking, I usually add an extra splash of olive oil .
- While sauce is simmering, place pasta in the boiling water and cook according to instructions.
- Drain pasta. Combine with the sauce in sauté pan. Toss thoroughly.
- Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
The faster this cooks, the "brighter" the flavors. Do not over simmer.
Suggested Accompaniment: Crusty bread (warmed in the oven) and a garden salad
Note: Fully cooked, grilled or smoked chicken breast (sliced), or uncooked shrimp are a couple of great additions. They should be added with the tomatoes during step 5.
Virtually any wine works with this dish.