For a milder olive flavor, use manzanilla olives in place of kalamata. Be sure to rinse the pitted olives before chopping to remove excess salt. In addition to mezze rigatoni or farfalle, any short, tubular or molded pasta will work well.
Pasta with olives, garlic and herbs
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon minced anchovy fillets (4 to 6 fillets)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, rinsed, patted dry and cut into thin strips
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and coarsely chopped (see note)
2 large slices white sandwich bread (about 3 ounces), torn into quarters
13/4 teaspoons table salt
1 pound rigatoni (mezze) or farfalle
2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
11/2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon garlic, anchovies, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, sun-dried tomatoes and olives in medium bowl. Set aside.
Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about 16 one-second pulses. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant and bread crumbs are dark golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer to plate to cool. Wipe out skillet with paper towels.
Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add rigatoni and remaining 11/2 teaspoons salt. While pasta is cooking, return now-empty skillet to medium heat and add olive mixture. Cook until olive mixture is aromatic and oil has turned rusty red, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove 3/4 cup pasta cooking water from pot and add to skillet. Bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat while pasta finishes cooking.
When pasta is just shy of al dente, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, and transfer back to Dutch oven. Add olive mixture to pasta and toss over medium heat until pasta absorbs most of liquid, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Adjust consistency of sauce with reserved pasta water. (Sauce should cling to pasta but not be too loose or runny.) Remove pot from heat and stir in parsley and basil; adjust seasoning with pepper. Serve, passing lemon wedges, remaining Parmesan and bread crumbs separately.
Source: Cook's Illustrated
Olives and feta marinated with rosemary, lemon and garlic are great served on crisp flatbread-style crackers or warm slices of crusty baguette.
Marinated olives and feta
1 cup sliced pitted olives, such as Kalamata or mixed Greek
1/2 cup diced feta cheese, preferably reduced-fat
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Source: Eating Well