Summer pasta recipe

Published June 24, 2010 3:24AM (EDT)

(Serves 2)


  • 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


  1. In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
  3. Toss in the garlic, leeks and walnuts. Sauté for 4 minutes or until leeks, garlic and nuts are golden.
  4. Add the herbs and chilies, or chili pepper, and toss for 30 seconds (to unlock their flavors).
  5. Add tomatoes, olives and pepper.
  6. 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 .
  7. While sauce is simmering, place pasta in the boiling water and cook according to instructions.
  8. Drain pasta. Combine with the sauce in sauté pan. Toss thoroughly.
  9. 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.

By Bob Blumer

Bob Blumer (aka the Surreal Gourmet) hosts his own program on the Food Channel.
The Surreal Gourmet's Web Site is located at

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