Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Since it’s spring and everything is turning green (and yellow and pink), it’s time to take advantage and turn from heavy food to something lighter and fresher. Spaghetti with green olives and lemon panko hits all those buttons. It’s light, it’s green, and it’s a bit of a flavor bomb that will wake up your taste buds.

It’s got zesty garlic, and earthy fresh spinach, paired with tangy capers, briny olives and a burst of citrus. Crispy, golden-brown panko crumbs mixed with dill and lemon zest add a bit of crunch.

In fact, I shared it with some friends and one of them said, “Oh I want that! I want it now! But I’m at work! Sob.”

I hate that the internet doesn’t include a “push here for spaghetti option”!

I found the original recipe on Bon Appetit, but I changed it a bit.  First, it had anchovies. Nope! Nope!  Second, I swapped the original parsley for some spinach instead. One, I had lots of spinach. And two, I don’t like parsley all that much, so there’s no point in buying a whole bunch of it. The spinach I will use for other meals.

One more small thing. The recipe said to cut some of the olives in half and then chop up the rest. It may have said to chop up the capers too (the instructions were a bit unclear). I started to chop the olives and then decided it was silly, so I stopped.

It also occurred to me after I made it that I could prepare the pasta first, then keep it warm while I cooked the panko and mixed everything else together.  Just drain and wipe the saucepan, add the oil and panko, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. That way it’s only one pot!

I used ordinary green olives (because they were handy). I think I will try it next time with castelvetrano olives instead, since they are my favorite olive (and taste great with pasta).

Oh dear, I’m revising and internet commenting my own recipe! Ha!




Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko Substitutions and Variations

  • like anchovies and parsley? Go for it!
  • use castelvetrano olives instead, they are firmer and more buttery
  • top the whole thing with some red pepper flakes
  • add more garlic
  • use the sauce over cooked fish (such as cod or tilapia)

More Spaghetti Recipes

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

A bit of basil, a handful of spinach, and some cream (or diluted plain Greek yogurt), and cooked pasta. You’ve got dinner (only two pots).  A healthy, green way to say hello to spring.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Fancy fresh pasta, or standard dried, this meal works either way. And it makes me smile every time.

 

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Nobody knows exactly how this dish got its name. But, the punchy capers, sweet tomatoes, and briny olives pack a lot of flavor into a few ingredients. It’s fast, and delicious too.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta

Green, earthy, garlicky, and made with pistachios rather than the usual pine nuts (who can pay for those nowadays anyway?).  This recipe came from an unusual source: a book. And, it wasn’t a cookbook either.

White Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Purists call this dish white ragu pappardelle pasta; others call it white bolognese (which makes the purists mad).  The point isn’t the name (it tastes just as good no matter what you call it). And, much as I love tomato sauces, the white sauce is a tasty change from the usual red one.

It starts with onions and carrots, then adds ground beef and sausage, which is simmered gently with porcini mushrooms, white wine, and a touch of cream.  Soooo good.

I first made this right after Pesach, when the urge to eat starch (and lots of it) is strong, so I splurged for fresh pappardelle pasta.  Being on an involuntary low-carb diet is no fun!  Since I was using fresh pasta, it takes less time to cook than the dried version.  If you use dried pasta, allow 10 minutes or so to boil the water and another 8 minutes or so to cook the pasta.  Fresh pasta only needs a couple of minutes. If you can’t get pappardelle, rigatoni will work fine. You want a substantial pasta with bite (angel hair won’t do here).

The original recipe calls for dried porcini mushrooms, which I didn’t have. So, I substituted fresh ones.  If you use the dried version, add the soaking liquid to the sauce instead of the water. The pasta water at the end thickens the sauce (with the starch from the cooked pasta).

I made a few other changes too. As a commenter rightly pointed out, the onions and carrots take different amounts of time to cook, so they shouldn’t be added all at once.  First the onions, then the carrots. Also, I never have beef bouillon cubes (the ingredients make me wince) so I used beef stock instead.




White Ragu Papardelle Pasta Substitutions and Variations

  • Substitute bacon or pancetta for the sausage
  • Swap ground veal and pork for the beef and sausage
  • If you like venison or boar, those would work too
  • Add a few cloves of garlic and top with basil when you serve it
  • Don’t want sausage or beef? Use ground turkey instead (add a bit more fat to the pan)

Crowd Cow Ground Beef

Feel better knowing where your food is coming from.   You can pick the way it’s raised, and who raises it.  Crowd cow sources their meat from individual farmers and ranchers, not corporate giants.  It’s either grass-fed or mostly grass-fed and then grain-finished, with minimal antibiotics and no extra hormones pumped into the animals.

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

A rich, thick tomato sauce brightened with spicy crushed red pepper and savory oregano. The artichokes are straight from a jar (so it’s pantry-friendly).

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Sometimes, the simplest things are best. This only requires a few basic ingredients you likely have in your cupboard or fridge. Go up the fancy scale with fresh pasta, or use what’s in your pantry. It’s all good.

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Earthy spinach, a splash of citrus, and some cream and you have a delicious, light main dish. And the hardest part is boiling the water for the pasta.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta

A bit of a twist on the usual pesto. No pine nuts, or walnuts. This one is made with pistachios instead. And while I got it from a book, it wasn’t a cookbook. It was a mystery.

 




Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Shortcut your dinner cooking routine with staples you already have in your pantry. This tomato artichoke pasta sauce recipe (also called Pasta Sauce Raphael) is ready in less than half an hour.  The original called for fresh tomatoes and hours of simmering. My version is faster and tastes just as good!

It’s flavored with rich, sweet tomatoes, a bit of earthy oregano and summery basil, plus a gentle kick from red pepper flakes and plenty of black pepper.

The only thing you need to get is the jar of marinated artichoke hearts. You likely already have the rest of the ingredients in  your larder (yay!).  Since the basil and oregano are dried, you don’t have to go and get fresh herbs.

The best way to approach this is to begin by making the pasta. Set the pasta pot on the stove with water and start to bring it to a boil. While that’s heating up, start working on the sauce.

Save the rest of the artichokes to make the recipe again, or add them to an antipasto platter with salami, fruit, olives, and cheese on a night you don’t feel like cooking.

The remaining tomatoes can go for Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant or Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili




Tomato Artichoke Pasta Sauce Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a spoonful of capers to the sauce
  • Intensify the tomato flavor with sun-dried tomatoes
  • Try Manchego or Parmesan cheese instead of Romano
  • If you don’t have the marinated artichokes, use the canned kind with some olive oil and white wine
  • If you don’t like artichokes (or have them handy) replace them with mushrooms and a tablespoon of Italian dressing

More Pasta Recipes

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

This pasta dish has a racy name, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.  Briny capers, sweet tomatoes, and salty olives burst with flavor. And it’s ready in minutes.

 

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Wake up your taste buds and welcome spring with this zesty, earthy pasta dish. It takes only thirty minutes to make.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Simple, but still satisfying, and made with just a few basic ingredients you probably already have. It’s very forgiving too; it works with anything from fresh pasta and freshly grated cheese to dried pasta and the stuff in the can.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A silky smooth sauce, with just a touch of cream, layered over pasta. Fancy enough for company, or just eat it yourself (you deserve it).

 




Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

This recipe makes me smile whenever I make it.  You may wonder what’s so funny about linguine with garlic and olive oil?  Nothing really, it just reminds me of a friend.

This friend does not cook. At all.  I don’t think she’s ever used her oven.  I was at her house one day and I was hungry. Nobody else wanted anything, so I started poking around in her fridge and cupboards (with permission).

I found some dried pasta, bouillon cubes, some olive oil, and a can of parmesan cheese. So, I made the “shelf stable” version of this recipe.  They all looked at me as if I had walked on water or parted the seas!

It is, of course, much better if you have higher quality ingredients at hand.  Here at home, I used fresh linguine, homemade chicken broth, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, along with high quality olive oil.

You can do it that way, the shelf stable way, or somewhere in-between.  I won’t judge.

 


Substitutions and Variations for Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

  • Make it more substantial with some cooked chicken or cooked shrimp
  • Top it with some red pepper flakes
  • Add a bit of lemon zest
  • Use some anchovies (if you like them)
  • Top with freshly toasted breadcrumbs

 

More Pasta Recipes

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Want food fast? Just cook some pasta and put together a quick sauce from sweet tomatoes, zesty garlic, and salty olives.

 

white ragu papardelleWhite Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Earthy porcini mushrooms, sausage, beef, white wine, and a bit of cream, all simmered gently and served with hearty fresh pasta.  Sooo good, you may never want the usual red sauce again.

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

A burst of bright flavor from nutty olives, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and golden friend panko.  A wonderful, and easy summer treat.

 

tomato artichoke pasta saucePasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Rich, thick, and pantry friendly too with canned tomatoes, dried herbs, and a jar of artichokes.  Start the sauce simmering, make the pasta and you’re ready to eat in half an hour.

 




Sauteed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

In my head, this was Roman spinach.  Then I looked and realized that was a completely different recipe (with pine nuts and raisins). I was wrong about the Roman part, but at least sauteed garlic parmesan spinach is really Italian.

The recipe that inspired this called for blanching and baking the spinach and then broiling everything.  That was too much bother!  I’ve adapted it to make it simpler and easier.

This way, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to prepare.  It will go nicely, I think, with a simple pan fried fish, or grilled fish. Or, serve it with a steak.

Unlike the Roman spinach (which would have required a trip to get pine nuts), this sauteed spinach is made from everyday ingredients you probably already have at home.  No special shopping trip needed!

If you want, you can add additional ingredients to the basic recipe (see the substitutions and variations section below for more ideas).




 

Substitutions and Variations for Sautéed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

  •  add a sliced mushroom or two (put that in before the spinach)
  • try some sautéed onions
  • add this recipe to some scrambled eggs and make it a main course for breakfast, lunch, or brunch
  • roast the garlic first
  • add some chopped fresh cherry tomatoes just before serving

More Spinach Recipes

Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Spinach and Egg Frittata for One Person

Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Shakshouka for One

 




Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

I should probably refer to this pasta e fagioli soup as “blizzard soup.” The forecast called for up to 20 inches of snow (though we only got seven).  I was determined to keep the stove going and get a batch of hot soup. Besides, there is more snow coming tomorrow!

Therefore, I deliberately made this the “hard” way.  First, I soaked the beans overnight.  Then I cooked the beans and sort of followed a recipe from The New York Times.  I cut it in  half and added pancetta (don’t know why they left that out).

I even made my own vegetable stock.  If you spot potatoes and carrots in the photo, it’s because they were in the homemade vegetable stock recipe .   Neither one is traditional for pasta e fagioli soup, but I left them in anyway. Why toss perfectly good veggies? I didn’t include them in the recipe here though.




You can use vegetable stock, or chicken stock if you prefer. I would  have made chicken stock but I didn’t have enough chicken bones. And I certainly wasn’t going out to get some in a blizzard!

Don’t be put off by the long prep time on this recipe.  That includes soaking the beans overnight. You can speed this up by using my quick soak method. That cuts the soaking time down from 8 hours to only one.

If you’re really in a hurry, and don’t have the time or patience to soak and cook the beans for an hour or more, use a can of white canellini beans instead. Make the rest of the soup, then add the can of beans.  Just cook them long enough to heat through.

Substitutions and Variations for Pasta e Fagioli Soup

  • Save time and use canned beans
  • Try different kinds of beans: pinto, kidney, or cranberry
  • Use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock
  • Use bacon or pork fat instead of pancetta (I even used soppressata salami once)
  • Add one potato (cut into chunks) to the soup
  • Chop up a handful of spinach and add that with the pasta

More White Bean and Soup Recipes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Easy Italian Wedding Soup

White Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

 




Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers Puttanesca

In a hurry for dinner?  Pasta is your friend.  This pasta dish with olives, tomatoes, and capers (or pasta puttanesca) has a slightly racy name.  Nobody really knows why.  One theory says the dish was popular with the ladies of the evening because it was easy to cook and the ingredients were cheap.  Another says that the sauce’s aroma helped lure in customers.

Whatever the reason, it certainly is budget friendly and you can make it in about 20 minutes.

Whoever is responsible created a dish that’s packed with flavor.  There’s pungent little bits of garlic, slightly briny capers, and nutty Niçoise olives. 

Capers, in case you don’t know, are the buds of a Mediterranean plant that are picked and then pickled (try to say that three times fast).  I always thought Niçoise  olives were a variety, but I found out today that they’re really called Le Calletier.  Niçoise is just the method of curing them.

I adapted this recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. They suggested using whole canned tomatoes, and then squeezing them out and chopping them up.  That’s too messy for me. You can use crushed tomatoes, purée, or even tomato sauce in a pinch.

Traditionally, this recipe also includes anchovies.  However, I am a fish wimp. The strongest fish flavor I like is salmon.  Also, anchovies were $32 a pound.  Nope. Not happening. Nuh uh.

The other great thing about pasta puttanesca is that you can use canned tomatoes, jarred capers, dry pasta, and spices you probably already have sitting on your shelf.

Save the rest of the tomatoes for pasta alla norma.

The remaining capers will keep indefinitely in the fridge once opened.  They’re great with smoked salmon, lemon, and dill for a weekend brunch.




 

More Pasta Recipes

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausagePasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Sweet Ialian-style chicken sausage, crisp bell peppers, and meaty mushrooms, all swirled together. It’s a fast and easy dinner.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

A recipe inspired by a murder mystery (of all things). This is a twist on the usual pesto.  Because what would a mystery be without a twist?  No pine nuts and there’s broccoli instead of basil. The basil is just a garnish.

penne with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olivesPenne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives

Sweet tomatoes balanced by salty feta and tender pasta, combine for a delightful summer meal.  Drying the tomatoes intensifies their flavor.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A velvety smooth sauce, with just a hint of cream.  The smoky, salty salmon complements the sweet tomatoes.  Check your grocer for salmon ends.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce with Penne

Sweet butternut squash, savory/sweet roasted garlic, and creamy parmesan added just at the end. Feels far more indulgent than it actually is.

 




Goat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

 

Sometimes, meals are carefully planned. Other times, it’s pure serendipity. I spotted goat cheese on sale at the market and grabbed some. When I got home, I remembered I had some leftover pizza dough in the fridge. I decided to put them together and make a goat cheese caramelized onion pizza.

You can approach this recipe two different ways.  If you make the crust yourself (not hard, but it does take time), it’s a weekend meal. Buy the crust pre-made (you can get it at grocery stores or even your local pizzeria), and it’s a 30 minute meal. So, dinner in half an hour!

I made my own crust (following Smitten Kitchen’s easy recipe), but if you’re in a rush, you don’t have to. By the way, she says to roll out the crust, but I find it works better if I just place it on the baking sheet and gently press outward from the center with my fingers. 

If you do make the dough, it makes enough for one generous dinner serving, or two lunch servings.  It will keep in the fridge for several days, so you don’t have to eat it all at once.  Take it out and let the dough come to room temperature before you start working with it.

Cooking, of course,  is often a process of taking what you already know about food and flavors, doing a bit of research (in cookbooks or online) and combining bits of ideas and techniques.  I often find myself taking bits and pieces from two or three recipes and putting them back together in different ways.

In this case, I started with the pizza crust recipe I already had. Then I added the goat cheese. I took the caramelized onions and the bell pepper from one recipe, the spinach from a second, and the garlic oil from a third.   You can always mix and match to suit your own taste, or the ingredients you have on hand (see more in the Substitutions and Variations section).

Also, I don’t normally post “in progress” photos, but the pizza looked so good I couldn’t resist!

goat cheese caramelized onion pizza_1

 




Substitutions and Variations for Goat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

  • Use roasted red peppers instead of fresh
  • Try a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Add sliced mushrooms and basil
  • Substitute arugula for the spinach
  • Toss in some sun-dried tomatoes

 

More Pizza Recipes

white pizza without ricottaWhite Pizza Recipe Without Ricotta

Like white pizza, but not a ricotta fan? This recipe has no ricotta at all.

 

tortilla pizza for oneHomemade Tortilla Crust Pizza

A pizza shortcut! Topped with bell peppers and sausage. Quick, and delicious.

 

rosemary potato roasted garlic pizzaRosemary Potato Roasted Garlic Pizza

I like to call this “potato chip pizza.” A whole different take on the usual pizza. No tomato sauce, and easy on the cheese. The potatoes end up golden brown and crisp.

 




Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Caprese salad meets the classic grilled cheese sandwich with a bit of roast chicken added and poof, you’ve got a chicken caprese salad panini. Perfect when you’re in a hurry and want something to eat fast! This chicken caprese salad sandwich feels rich and decadent, but you don’t need to invest a lot of time or effort to make it.  You don’t really even have to measure much of anything.

The market had some beautiful Campari tomatoes on sale, right next to the fresh mozzarella.  I couldn’t resist.  So, I put that together with some basil, leftover roast chicken, and a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread. Voila! The chicken caprese salad panini sandwich.

I started with leftover roast chicken, so I didn’t need to make the chicken.  If you already have cooked chicken, just pop it into the sandwich.  Some leftover rotisserie chicken would work nicely. All you have to do now is grill the bread, melt the cheese, and add the tomatoes and basil.

If not, see the substitutions and variations section below for ideas on how to cook the chicken.

The bread does tend to slurp up the olive oil, but really it’s worth it! The sandwich gets golden brown, and the cheese is gooey and melty. It’s your favorite childhood grilled cheese sandwich for grownups!

Do use the fresh mozzarella if you can get it. It’s far more flavorful (and I think it melts better) than the pre-packaged kind.




Substitutions and Variations for Chicken Caprese Panini Sandwich

  • Saute some mushrooms (do that first) and add them to the sandwich at the end.
  • Start with fresh chicken breasts (season with salt/pepper/balsamic vinegar/olive oil) then gently cook in olive oil
  • Or, season the chicken with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Cook that in a bit of olive oil
  • Add some avocado
  • Get an extra serving of veggies and put in a few spinach leaves
  • Or, try cooking it in the broiler instead (less oil needed)

More Sandwich Recipes

Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

 




Spinach and Egg Frittata for One Person

I adapted this from a “spinach and egg omelette” recipe in the The Book of Jewish Food. That’s not really accurate. It has eggs and spinach, but I think it’s closer to a frittata than an omelette. So, I’m calling it a spinach and egg frittata.

There are lots of recipes for spinach (the spinach and potato pie looks great too and I’m going to try the spiced spinach and eggs with ginger). I am working on using the “spinach tree” so all those spinach recipes will come in handy!

The nice thing about this frittata is that you can serve it hot or cold. Eat it hot out of the pan, or wrap it up and take it to go.

The spinach, eggs, nutmeg, coriander, and fresh dill add lots of herby and savory flavor. Top it with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

I ate it with a thick slice of buttered fresh rye bread and strawberries for an easy Sunday brunch.

The original recipe called for putting the frittata under the broiler to cook on the other side. However, since we’re only making a single serving, it’s much easier to just flip it over.




More Spinach Recipes

Use up the rest of that bunch of spinach with these recipes.

eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Bring the heat! This omelette is spiked with chilis, and then cooled down with a dollop of yogurt.

 

spinach and feta cheese omeletteSpinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

I wanted spinach and feta triangles. I had no phyllo dough. So I made this instead. All the flavors of spanakopitas in a simple, easy omelette.

 

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Spinach, summery basil, and a light lemony cream sauce all tangled together. It’s an easy summery meal that is ready quickly.

 

blueberry and spinach salad with fetaBlueberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Walnuts

Great for when it’s too hot to cook.  Crispy cucumber, sweet tomatoes, earthy mushrooms, and sweet blueberries all tossed together. Then add feta for tang and walnuts for crunch.