Monday, August 18, 2014

A Sunday Mixture of Olives and Sawdust?

If you don't like olives (and there are a strange few who don't) I encourage you to move on. Because this recipe celebrates olives in all of their splendor. It also helped make my Sunday a little more exciting.

As I have wrapped up phase one of home renovations projects, (phase two being bathrooms when budget allows), I found myself both so restless and clueless on what to do on a cooler than normal August Sunday afternoon, that I actually cleaned the basement. This was sorely needed since sanding down a chest I bought at a yard sale... three times. Once, because it was 50 years old, and then twice, because I didn't like the first two finishes I applied. All I can say is that it is a good thing I purchased a small Shop-Vac because wood dust was everywhere! But, it's clean now and my work table sits waiting for the next project.

That being said, with most of the day still ahead of me, I went back upstairs, into my almost new kitchen and realized "it's time to cook again." I routinely go through newspapers (remember them?) and magazines for recipes that look like they are both easily prepared and packed with flavor. I often put my own spin on them before passing them on, but a recipe I found in a Philadelphia newspaper last week needed little tweaking!  It was perfect and delicious.

Linguine with Green Olive Tapenade and Sausage

3/4 cup of pitted green olives
1 glove garlic
1 anchovy fillet (rinse)
1 tablespoon capers (drained)
1 tsp of lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (good quality Parmesan cheese does not come in a green container)
2 cups of baby arugula leaves


  1. Put the olives, garlic, anchovy, capers and lemon zest in food processor to form a paste. Add a little olive oil if needed for consistency. (I will admit, you can buy olive tapenade already prepared in a jar. But it was a Sunday, and I had all afternoon). Also, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes into my mixture because as I get older, my palate requires a kick start now and then!
  2. Cook the linguine in a large boiling pot of salted water along with a drop of oil to prevent the strands from sticking. The pasta is usually al dente in around 9 or 10 minutes. Taste.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, simmer the sausages over medium heat until golden brown and cooked through. I have come to like Italian chicken sausage more than the pork variety. But please use whatever your preference is. Slice cooked sausage into bite-sized portions.
  4. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta in a bowl and mix in the tapenade so the strands are coated, here is where you may need to add a little of the pasta water to moisten the sauce. Now, toss in the sliced sausage and cheese, and mix again. Serve with a topping of arugula! 

Now, I will admit that it was the olives that attracted me to this dish. My entire family (with the exceptions of my sons - I don't know what their problem is), loves
olives. We even make something that we call "olive salad" which is made entirely of olives, celery, garlic and spices. We'll get back to this in the fall. But for now, take a look at this amazing recipe! It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the kitchen (and to keep me out of the basement)!

Photos courtesy of GoogleImage & Jo Ann Phelps

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