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Monday, November 1, 2010

Pasta with Tapenade and Veggies

Back in Connecticut, in the days when we visited more restaurants, we loved Carole Peck's Good News Café in Woodbury. Carole specializes in fresh, organic ingredients and always offers a selection of great vegetarian dishes. We adopted one of our favorites for home use, and over the years it has evolved into a dish we make any time we have nice firm green vegetables on hand—a big bunch of asparagus, say, or a bag of velvety green beans.

The recipe features three ingredients: very small pasta (sometimes known as "soup pasta"), such as tubettini or ditalini; a lightly boiled green vegetable; and a dollop of tapenade. You can prepare it in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

Pasta with Tapenade and Veggies

1 pound small pasta (such as tubettini, ditalini, or acini de pepe)
1 pound or so firm green vegetable (green beans, asparagus, and broccoli all work well), cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup tapenade (you may want more or less—if  you're not sure, start with a half cup and work up from there)
2 T. olive oil

1. Start boiling water for pasta and the veggies. You can cook the veggies in the pasta water before cooking the pasta, if you like, or you can use a separate pot to speed things up.

2. While the water is heating, trim and cut the vegetables. Cook them if you are using two pots for the pasta and veggies.

3. If you don't have tapenade on hand, now is a good time to make some.

4. When the water comes to a boil, toss in your pasta and cook until done. Drain it, place it in a good-size bowl, and toss it with the olive oil. Then add the veggies and tapenade, mixing thoroughly.

You can serve this either hot or at room temperature. Feeds four moderate eaters or two to three people of strong appetite.

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