Pasta Puttanesca

photo(4)Here you go, another pasta recipe! I hope you’re not getting sick of these yet. Leave it to me to make be making all these pastas in the summer while everyone else is gearing up for warm weather and swim suit season. Oh well, that’s who I am.

This week I bring you pasta puttanesca, politely translated to the “working girl’s pasta.” Traditional puttanesca has capers and anchovies, but per usual I didn’t have all the right ingredients in my kitchen so I doubled up on the olives to make up for it. Since the olives are pretty salty I don’t add much salt to the sauce, but feel free to adjust that to your tastes.

Pasta Puttanesca

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin slices
14 oz crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata olives
3 cloves garlic
1 lb spaghetti or bucatini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 fresh basil leaves
grated cheese for topping

1. Place the olive oil and onions in a pan on low heat. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 7-8 minutes.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt to the pan with the onions and stir to combine. Continue cooking on low heat, stirring often until the sauce starts to bubble.

3. Combine the olives and garlic in a food processor and pulse for just a few seconds until they’re chopped but not too small. Add the olives and garlic to the sauce and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often.

4. While the sauce is cooking, cook and drain your pasta in a bowl of salted water.

5. Once the sauce is done, turn off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes. Then add the pasta and toss. Finish with chopped basil and cheese and enjoy!

 

Feta and Olive Stuffed Dough Balls

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So I wasn’t really sure what to call these.  They’re inspired by a Turkish dish called pogaca, which are basically delicious little dough balls stuffed with feta and parsley.  I happen to have a lot of olives around and wanted to incorporate those so I added them to the filling.  Then, I decided I wanted a touch of spice so I added Turkish pepper paste.  The pepper paste is difficult to find in American grocery stores but you could mix some cayenne or red pepper into tomato paste and get a similar product.

I just love the dough that these call for, it’s absolutely beautiful and always comes out great.  If you have a phobia of making dough (like I did for a long time) this is a great one to try to boost your dough making confidence.  These can make a great appetizer, but they’re hard to stop eating so for me they usually end up being a meal on their own!

Feta and Olive Stuffed Dough Balls
Dough:
photo (49)4 cups of flour
1 cup of milk
1 1/2 Tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Filling:
3/4 cup pepper paste (see above for substitute)
1/2 cup pitted olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 Tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Egg Wash:
1 large egg, whisked

1. Combine the yeast and 1/2 cup of the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and let stand for about 10 minutes.

2. Combine the rest of the dry ingredients for the dough and add them to your mixer. Combine using the dough hook. Next add the melted butter. Then, add the rest of the milk slowly.

3. Continue to mix using the dough hook for about 5 minutes, you should have a slightly sticky dough at this point.

4. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise for at least an hour.

5. While your dough is rising, make your filling. The easiest way is to combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until they become a spread like mixture. If you don’t have a food processor you can also chop the olives and onion and just stir everything else in.

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6. Once the dough has risen, roll it out in small batches using a rolling pin until it’s about 1/8 inch thin. Use a circular cookie cutter (or the top of a glass) to cut out circles that are about 2 inches in diameter. Place the circles on a baking sheet.

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7. Fill the middle of each circle with a small amount of the filling. Then bunch up the ends together to hold the filling. Place the “bunched” side down on the baking sheet. Brush each dough ball with the egg wash and bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until they start to brown. Enjoy!

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