Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spaghetti with Olives and Capers

     We had someone over for dinner last weekend who has started trying his hand at cooking. He seemed to be lacking confidence, so I let him pick a recipe out of a The Essential Pasta Cookbook and I would show him how to make it. He wound up picking this recipe, which is good because it is very simple. It's a good lesson to see that it only takes a few good ingredients to put together a great meal. Granted, I have a hard time relinquishing control in the kitchen. I did let him chop the tomatoes. He did a fine job. We served the pasta with my wife's Zucchini Boats and had a delicious dinner. As always, any changes or notes will be in blue.
Spaghetti with Olives and Capers
via The Essential Pasta Cookbook
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (true story: I tried to explain what "extra virgin" meant regarding olive oil to my wife. I told her that most olive presses are worked by a single virgin. When they want to get the last, choicest drops of oil out, they bring in an extra virgin to work the press. Needless to say, she didn't believe me.)
  • 1-1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs (believe it or not, we didn't have any white bread. We used a scant 3/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs from the cardboard tube.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 ounce can anchovies, drained and finely chopped, optional (anchovies are never an option for me. I only used a few though, as I wasn't sure how everyone else would like it. They seemed pretty grossed out when I started eating them straight from the can.)
  • 10 oz black olives, finely chopped
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped (we still had some tomatoes with basil and garlic we canned last season. We just used a whole quart jar.)
  • 2 tablespoons tiny capers (in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit my capers were not tiny. They were simply below average.)
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring continuously, until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool completely (yeah, totally didn't do that. I took the jar of bread crumbs out of the pantry, took the lid off and poured out the amount I planned on using.)
  2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic, anchovies and black olives and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and capers and cook for 3 minutes (since I used my own canned tomatoes, I let it cook a little longer than that to get out some of the excess moisture.)
  3. Cook the pasta in a large pan of rapidly boiling water until al dente (I went to school with an Al Dente. Nice guy.) Drain and return to the pan. Add the tomato mixture and breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Serve immediately, with herbs as a garnish if you like.
Good times!

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