Can I just tell you what a luxury this is? I'm sitting here on the couch typing this and I am in perfect comfort. I have not had to contort my body into exactly the right position to avoid jostling the screen. I have not had to hope and pray that the cat would not decide that RIGHT NOW was the time to express her undying affection, or that the dog would come along and decide that he had to bestow his absolute favorite toy in the whole wide world on me, or that the toddler would choose that moment to throw herself on top of me in an earnest attempt to purge my body of all the air inside it. The screen is staying in an appropriate position and this pleases me. It's amazing how long we'll tolerate things that are, frankly, just plain stupid in the name of convenience or inconvenience or not wanting to spend the money or whatever.
Anyway, I made this dish the day before Thanksgiving. I'd spent all day making bread and cookies to bring to our Thanksgiving dinner, much to the dismay of the toddler. (She spent 90 minutes on a tantrum because I would not abandon this madcap cookie-baking scheme and dance with her. Ah, the Terrific Twos.) It is an incredibly simple recipe, and it was an incredibly tasty recipe too. I kept it simple because I wanted to do something besides cook and clean. There were three ingredients. There was pasta, there were olives, and there was cheese. (Remember, kids, just because it's vegetarian doesn't mean it's low fat.) I'd come across some "Greek Olives with Chiles" at my local Whole Foods and of course I love that sort of thing. Try it some weeknight when you're pressed for time and just not in the mood.
Pasta with Olives and Feta (serves 4; approx. $3.63/serving)
1 box whole wheat pasta
1 8-oz block good quality feta, crumbled (this means not feta from cow's milk. You probably knew that already, but I've seen a lot of cow's milk feta in a lot of surprising places, so I feel compelled to say something. Cow's milk lacks the right tang. Cow's milk cheese has it's place, don't get me wrong, I'm not on this anti-cow rant, but...)
1 8-oz tub pitted Greek olives with chiles
- Large saucepan or whatever pot you would normally use for pasta
- Frying pan or saute pan
- Wooden spoon
- Fill your large pasta pot with water and bring to a boil. Most people will use salted water and that's actually better; I've been really cutting back on salt around here so I don't do that anymore but there's no reason you shouldn't.
- Add your pasta and let it return to a boil. You know, just like you were making pasta.
- Meanwhile, heat your frying pan. Yes, dry.
- Add the olives and whatever else is in the tub with them. There will be some chiles, maybe a bit of brine and some oil from the olives themselves. You shouldn't need to add any olive oil because there's plenty in the olives themselves.
- Saute the olives for a little while.
- Add the feta. Cook over low heat. From time to time add a few spoonfuls of the pasta water - this will help to keep the cheese from burning or sticking to the pan, and it will help to create a creamy texture.
- When the pasta is done, drain it and immediately transfer to your serving bowl. Pour the contents of the frying pan over it and serve.