March 18, 2014

sharing is caring: an easy dinner

A fifteen minute home cooked meal can be priceless in times of pregnancy, sheer exhaustion, lack of motivation, or on a regular day (let's be honest).  This is one of my go-to's that I felt like sharing so that you can look like a domesticated goddess even though you know you're just a teenage girl in a grown woman's body working a 24/7 shift that you're not getting paid real money for.  Ever.

We're paid in love.  But love ain't buying me a pair of Louboutins, I can tell you that. 

I digress.

If you like pasta, meatballs, cheese and kalamata olives- a.k.a if you have a sophisticated pallet- this is for you.

This is what you need:

-3/4 lb elbow pasta
-Full Jar of Trader Joe's Green Olive Tapenade (click here for link)
-Grated cheese- I prefer Pecorino/Romano but any type will work fine.
-20-30 pitted kalamata olives (or any kind you prefer- but always go with pitted.)  I leave about half whole and give the rest a rough chop.  Looks nicer that way, people.
-2 tablespoons of the juice from the jar of olives.
-Tablespoon or two of EVOO
-Salt and pepper to taste.
-Parsley and Basil as garnish
-Frozen meatballs (click here for recipe) (I cut this recipe in half and went without the pork.  I made these previously and it made so many that I ended up freezing about 25 meatballs for nights like tonight.  Just preheat the oven to 375 and cook frozen meatballs for 20-25 minutes shaking the pan half way through to ensure fully baked goodness.) These are optional but go very well and make sure the men are happy.  They're crispy and amazeballs.  Literally.

What you need to do:
1) Preheat oven to 375 for meatballs.  I put about ten on a pie pan covered in aluminum foil for a zero-clean endeavor.  This way you'll only need to clean the one pasta pot you use.  Boom.
2) Get water boiling in a medium sized pot (do yourself a favor and salt your water generously and add olive oil).
3) Put meatballs in for 20-25 minutes rolling them around halfway through cook time.
4)  Add pasta once water reaches a decent rolling boil.
5) Drain cooked pasta fully, and pour back into pot.  Add EVOO, whole jar of tapenade, olives, olive juice and 1/4-1/3 cup of grated cheese.  Mix into pasta gently. Add salt and pepper and mix in.
6) Let rest for a minute or two and then pour into serving dish.  Garnish with some basil and parsley.
7) Remove meatballs from oven and voila.  Dinner is served.

Any decent recipe has notes and substitutions:
*This recipe also works with goat cheese instead of grated but sprinkle it in at the very end after the pasta has cooled as a garnish- otherwise it'll melt and look like white sauce and you won't get that chunky texture that is best.  Then leave some at the table so people can add more to their plates.  

**You can substitute elbow pasta for orzo.

***You can also add in some arugula, chopped sundried tomatoes, chopped pepadews, the little mozzarella balls... Whatever.   It's one of those 'everything but the kitchen sink' type dishes.  

**** You can obviously just use store bought frozen meatballs and cook according to package directions.

*****If you have a little nugget at home like I do, keep some plain pasta aside prior to adding all the ingredients, and just add butter and grated cheese to their bowl.  You're not necessarily making two meals and everyone ends up happy.  Including you.  As well as your tired-ass back and feet after working all day and running errands and being generally awesome.  

Bon ape tit.

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