Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Naficy Mediterranean Pasta

Happy 3 Year Anniversary to Foodie Out Of the Closet blog ! 

 


These past three years have flown by and that is because I've had so much fun!  Originally I started out my blog by going down to film and interview local farmers and vendors at my neighborhood farmer market, but also by sharing some cooking recipes, and ranting about the environment, and most recently focusing mostly on audio podcast interviews. Really want to acknowledge all the contributors to this blog, for allowing me to interview them and share in their joy of food, organic farming, and sustainable homesteading, that in turn inspired my small contribution to awareness of these issues in the Bay Area. I feel very blessed to live in Northern California, near so much conscientious farming and food entrepreneurship. Thanks also, to the innovative websites like Youtube.com and Soundcloud.com, Apple Co, with their iTunes podcast player, and Google's Blogger.com, that allows me to self-publish and post to a larger audience. Technology is really amazing! 

Today, I want to continue with the healthy diet theme that is currently in the media surrounding the cuisine of the Mediterranean region. Please see latest study covered by the SFGate article, confirming the benefits of this particular diet, that includes, large amounts of nuts, fruits, vegetables, olive oils, and fish for cardiovascular health. Everyone wants to live a long healthy life and why not incorporate some of these region's long held habits for better living.



I imagine it's not always easy to make a healthy dish, when there are so many good restaurants that serve food fast. This is an easy recipe, named in my roommate's honor, and evolved from her and I cooking meals between classes while I attended John F. Kennedy University and she attended Mills College. This meal is light and at the same time filling. I will be using pine nuts, but often times I substitute for finely chopped walnuts, that add a wonderful strongly nutty taste to the dish. Also, I try to make the best choices at the market, by buying locally grown and organic olives and other produce. 

Ingredients:
  
2 cups of farfalle pasta (bow tie) 
1 very small Serrano chili 
1/2 cup of kalamata olives (pitted)
1/2 cup of pine nuts 
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes 
1/2 red bell pepper 
1 full cup of cilantro 
1/3 cup of basil leaves (6-8 large leaves)
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon of dried oregano
3 tablespoons of olive oil 
1 Teaspoon of salt


First, finely chop all the ingredients that will be tossed with the pasta. Start with kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, red pepper, cilantro, basil, and end with serrano chili and garlic. 
I usually separate into bowls.

Second, fill a 3 1/2 Quart cooking pot with water, add a dash of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to water and bring to a boil for cooking the pasta. Cooking times vary, but approximately 15 minutes till this is ready to strain. 

Thirdly, in a saute pan with medium heat, add two tablespoon of olive oil, oregano, and serrano chili, and pine nuts, cooking until pine nuts are a pretty golden brown color. Stir these first ingredients for about 3-5 minutes. Next add, sun dried tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, kalamata olives. Saute these items for another 3-5 minutes.  

Finally add fresh herbs of basil and cilantro. I usually add these items right before I add strained pasta to the saute pan. I toss all ingredients for a less than a minute. If dish seems dry. Sprinkle some olive oil on all ingredients and toss some more before serving. The timing takes practice so that everything is ready at once. Don't beat yourself if it doesn't work out perfectly.

For the finally dish, I usually grate some fresh parmesan cheese, which gives an extra special flavor in your mouth. Not that this dish is without flavor! Be careful, you don't use too much of a serrano chili, because it goes a long way! Should only be about 1/2 a teaspoon when finely chopped.

Don't forget the glass of red wine! 

Serves 2 comfortably. 

Wishing you all a healthy year!  

~Tarabud