Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Super Simple Pasta. Fresh cherry tomatoes, some chicken, and some artichoke hearts for good measure.

I eat pasta.  My dirty little secret.  My kids love it, and I'm trying to live in the real world these days.

Page 52 of this month's Men's Health has the tiniest little blurb on making olive oil even healthier by sauteing tomator skins in it.  The premise is odd.  But should I quibble about more lycopene being drawn out of tomato skins by olive oil vs other oils?  I mean in this case, aren't you going to eat the whole tomato anyway?  Who cares if it's drawn out?  When you digest it, it's drawn out then, right?  Plus, is the olive oil really any healthier?  Not really.  So, I don't get it.  Yet, the recipe is simple, healthy, and delicious, so let's go with it.

If you have the mag, read the blurb, but the fact is that the super simple recipe is pretty close to my own super simple recipe, which I'll give you now.  MH has all sorts of other sweet little blurbs, so pick it up anyway.

Fresh Tomato Pasta

Makes 2 servings

4 oz dry pasta
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes (I like the multi-color mix from Trader Joe's, but any tiny tomatoes work)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (if they're sliced, you or your guest can choose to not eat the slices)
1/4 cup packed basil leaves, torn up (I usually use pesto, but this is simpler.  The nod to MH, here)
fresh ground pepper
salt (sea salt, kosher, coursely ground, preferred.)

Cook the pasta.  Drain the pasta.  Toss it with 1 teaspoon of the oil.  Salt to taste.  Keep it warm in a big heavy covered hot bowl (or the pan if you're all mundane and not feeling like you'd like to be on some cooking channel, somewhere, someday).

Wash and dry the tomatoes.  Heat the olive in a large non stick pan over medium high heat.  Swirl the oil to coat the pan and add the tomatoes.  I just like to shake them around over the heat, but if you love the feel of a wooden spoon or spatula, touch it, use it.

When the tomatoes are getting soft, starting to darken and open here and there, add the garlic and keep that pan moving (shaken or stir, whatever).  It's only going to take 30 seconds or so, so keep an eye out.  If the garlic burns, you're screwed (not really, but whatever you do, don't burn it.  Seriously.)  Okay!  Now!  Take the pan off the heat and dump the pasta in there.  Stir and shake to mix and coat the pasta, then quickly empty the pasta and tomato mixture into your warm bowl.

Toss the torn up basil leaves into the bowl of pasta, grind some pepper, toss really well and salt to taste.

Serve with no cheese.  That's so played.  Everyone serves it with cheese, but come on!  Cheese will totally overwhelm this stuff with cheese flavor.  Look at the title.  Does it feature cheese?  No.

I would serve this with a simple grilled chicken.  Maybe stir fry some artichoke hearts and chicken tenderloins.  Here....

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts

Makes 2 servings

12 oz chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
8 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and cut into bite size pieces
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium high heat.  Add chicken and stir fry until lightly browned.  Remove to a bowl.  Add the artichoke hearts to the hot pan and stir in the wine.  Heat through, stirring to deglaze the pan.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Poor the hot artichokes and wine over the chicken.  Stir to mix.

Even though these taste awesome together, put one or the other in a small bowl, and the other straight on the plate.  No mixing.  It's not right.



Fresh Tomato Pasta, per serving:  Calories 304, Fat 8.0, Carbs 50, Fiber 4, Protein 9

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts, per serving:  Calories 278, Fat 8, Carbs 14, Fiber 6, Protein 30

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