Peace in Greece Pasta

greekPastaThis peace filled recipe is dedicated to a fellow Peace Blogger that passed away today (January 29, 2012): Sarge Charlie was a retired Army man that understood the importance of peace. He will be greatly missed.

We had pasta in the pantry. But, we have also had a lot of Italian meals of late. I skimmed my cookery books, searched the internet, and went through my somewhat but not quite orderly files, and not a one said “You must make me just like this.” However a bunch of recipes said, “Oh look! Why don’t you use this or that from this idea?” Others said “well, I’d be much better if you only added these things and took out that thing.”

The recipes were starting to cause quite a ruckus and I was not about to allow the violence to escalate. So, I decided it was time, once more, to Declare World Peace with Pasta.

I let all of the nice recipes contribute a little something, added some ideas of my own, and ended up with Peace in Greece.

Ingredients mindfully chosen and applied with great thought and gentleness:

1 lb whole wheat pasta
4 T olive oil
about 1 1/2 pints of cherry tomatoes, rinse and slice them in half – you can use more if you like, but this amount worked well. When you put them in the bowl, make sure that you include every bit of liquid.
garlic – usually I use fresh, but this time I had a jar of chopped garlic in the pantry so I used it. Because the jarred garlic is not as strong as fresh, I put in three very large scoops using a teaspoon (the eating kind, not the measuring kind and I do mean mounded scoops). I would suspect that an equivalent amount of fresh garlic would be four large crushed cloves – at a minimum, but then our family adores garlic.
a goodly splash of white wine – about 1/3 cup. Please use a decent wine, you can then serve it with the meal.
1 t Greek or Mediterranean Oregano – or 2 t of fresh.
1/2 – 1 t crushed red pepper, to your tastes. If you are not a heat person, do still add about 1/4 t of it anyway, trust me.
a number of twists (I think I counted to 8 or 10) of fresh cracked black pepper.
about 1/4 t of nutmeg
1 cup fresh rinsed and torn basil – I wondered afterward if more would have been good, and will let you know the next time I make it.
6 oz crumbled Feta, plus more at the table. I bought a 12 oz container, used half and we probably added 2/3 of the rest at the table.

Optional: The husband and son added black Greek olives to their portions. No accounting for taste, but I am sure there are a few of you odd olive eating people out there so I did want to let youGreekPastaOlives know that you could do that. They loved it. To the right is a pic of what their plates looked like. Notice how it does not look quite as attractive as my plate did. No, I did not go out of my way to take an unattractive pic, it’s the olives.

How I put together a Pasta Worthy of World Peace:

I filled my great large pasta pot with water and a little salt and heated it to a boil – do please use cold water and never hot from the faucet. The reason for this is that there are things like rust and unspeakable sediments that accumulate in water heaters. These particles are delivered to your cookery pot mixed with the hot water after the heater agitates itself to do your bidding. You do not want to add rust or the other things to your dinner, and can avoid it by using cold water.

I cooked the pasta to a nice al dente and drained it in the colander where it would sit waiting patiently and peacefully while I made the sauce.

Then I added the olive oil to the same pot – no rinsing or anything, I just added the oil and returned it to the burner now set on medium high. I sauteed the garlic in that for about a minute. You just want to release the garlic’s lovely aroma and not burn or over cook it. Then I poured in the tomatoes and their juices – it may look like not enough liquid, but it is. Stir a bit.

After this began to boil, I added the white wine and all seasonings except the basil. It boiled happily for only a couple minutes. Then I added the drained pasta to the pot and began to stir. I had to use a spoon and my pasta grabber to do this – needed both to plate it too. Once this was done, I added the basil and stirred it up again. Finally, I added the feta and stirred… all the while the pot was over that medium high heat.

By now the pasta had reheated nicely and the sauce was thickened a bit from the melty feta. This is a good time to give it a taste and make any adjustments you need to make it yours. Remember, that a recipe is just a template. You need to bring your own views and opinions to the structure.

As you can see, I don’t add salt (except for the water), as the Feta has a sufficiently salty presence. You may be used to salt though and will want a bit. Please take the dish to this point and taste first – never ever just add salt because you always do, ok? Much more peaceful to learn to love the flavors of food without all the salt that only leads to high blood pressure and then to arguments and then to war.

It is with great mindfulness, that I Declare World Peace with this offering of Peace in Greece Pasta. Enjoy.

Recipe also posted at Mindful Palate.

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