Gran Fran sent me a link to a site with a list of all sorts of cooking and food related contests. For the most part, they ask for a recipe, usually including a food or spice from a particular vendor and a little story about your recipe.
As you know, I likes me a little story, especially when it has to do with my cookin'. I've entered three recipes today in two contests, one of which was for Lindsay Olives. Here is my entry. It truly is delicious.
I grew up eating this kind of dish in my parents' home. It takes me back to grade school, doing homework in the kitchen, while my mom cooked. We'd trade stories of the day, and she'd help with my homework while mincing and browning the garlic.
I especially loved taking the olives from the can and "wearing" them on my fingers. It was a handy way to eat a little pre-dinner snack, too.
The richness of the walnuts against the tang of the onions and salty, warm flavors of the olives create a nice counterpoint of flavors. I choose to use brown rice pasta these days, no gluten for me, but my mom used a whole wheat pasta. Any pasta will work here, even rice noodles, if it's what you have on hand. The sauce is the key, the depth of the flavors and crunch of the walnuts.
This dish is also great cold, as a side dish for a picnic, or holiday potluck.
1/2 cup Lindsay chopped black olives, drained
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 lb pasta spirals (whole wheat or brown rice pasta is nice)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 diced red onion
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
4 tbsps Olive Oil, divided, plus some for drizzling at end
- Set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil for pasta.
- Put drained, chopped olives in a bowl, add 2 cloves minced garlic, salt, pepper and *red pepper flakes.
- Leave to marinate while pasta water boils, and pasta cooks.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add 2 tbsps olive oil to pan, swirl to coat.
- Lower heat to medium, add remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic, and chopped red onions.
- Sautee until golden, then reduce heat to low.
- Add chopped walnuts, moving them around in the pan so they brown evenly.
- Cook pasta according to directions on box.
- Just before it's cooked through, add marinated olives to the onion, garlic, walnut mixture.
- Raise heat to medium. Heat until olives are just warmed.
- Drain pasta and place in large bowl.
- Pour onion, garlic, walnut and olive mixture over pasta and mix.
- Drizzle olive oil over mixed pasta, add a pinch of salt and *red pepper flakes.
- Serve and enjoy!
(*red pepper can be omitted for more tender palates.)