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One of the things I love about pasta is that you can make a pasta dish out of pretty much any other dish’s ingredients.  This is a common set of Mediterranean ingredients that began as salad and turned into pizza, calzones, roasted chicken toppings and more.  I like the orecchiette because their center depression is a great spot for the vegetables to get stuck, giving you flavor and texture in every bite.

IMG_6333This is a fast and easy family fav:

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1/2ish cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped small
6ish oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped coarse
2/3ish cup kalamata olives, chopped coarse
8ish oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 lb. orecchiette
a good quality extra virgin olive oil
crushed red pepper to taste
salt & pepper

Put your water on to boil with a little olive oil in it to keep the noodles from sticking together.  While its heating up, add 2 tbs. of olive oil to a large skillet.  Even though you’re sauteing, resist the temptation to jack the heat up!  You don’t want the oil to smoke, and its just not necessary to cook this.  Start with medium heat and add the garlic, onion, sun dried tomatoes, salt & pepper, crushed red pepper.  Careful with the crushed red – it will be more spicy because you’re putting it in the oil at the beginning than it is when you sprinkle it over something at the end.

Once your onions are translucent, add the fresh tomato, stir a few times to help it start to break down and then add the spinach.   Once the spinach is wilted, add the olives.

Cook for just a couple of minutes until everything is hot.  Then turn off the heat and toss in the feta.  By now your pasta should be done and you can toss everything together.

Now that nothing is exposed to heat, add another several tbs. of olive oil to coat or just drizzle it over your dish.  This way you get to actually taste the flavor of the oil, and receive the health benefits that tend to get lost during cooking.