There is a very fundamental truth about me that you all should know. I love pasta. I mean LOVE pasta. Sit me down with a bowl of noodles and some variation of a red sauce in front of me and contentment will invariably kick in.
There are, in fact, only a few foods that really test my limits of portion control. These are the foods that I have to carefully dish out a proper portion, sit down, and NOT GO BACK for more or I may never stop eating; because no matter how full I am, I will keep plowing on with my fork until these foods are all gone: pasta, mashed potatoes, donuts.
My vices are all white, starchy carbohydrates.
I suppose there could be worse things.
The truth is that when it comes to pasta, mashed potatoes and donuts, they don’t even have to be very good. If not careful, I will eat them all regardless of their mediocrity and then complain later that they weren’t very good.
Lucky for me I have (mostly) developed a wise and sensible ability to eat a reasonably-sized portion and then WALK AWAY.
Also lucky for me (and for you if you like to cook), I don’t have to settle for finding comfort in mediocre pasta, because I can make this pasta. This pasta is far better then mediocre.
This pasta, in fact, is a tasty twist on a standard tomato sauce, as it veers a bit more toward Greece, rather than Italy, and has a nice kick of spice from a healthy shake of red pepper flakes.
This is definitely a pasta dish that tests my powers of portion control. But, the up-side of that is that there is then leftover pasta for my lunch the next day. Yum.
Pasta with Spicy Greek Inspired Tomato Sauce
Inspired by a variety of recipes I have seen floating on the Internet at random times!
1 lb noodles of your choice (I used Golden Grain Jumbo Elbows, which were great.)
1 tblspn extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, rinsed well and chopped fine
1 small red bell pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ tspn ground fennel
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn crushed red pepper flakes
½ – 1 tspn salt (to taste)
1 tblspn red wine vinegar
Feta cheese (I used regular feta, but you can omit this or sub a vegan cheese if preferred), for serving
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta as directed. Drain and set aside when done.
- Meanwhile, pour oil into a large sauté pan and warm up over medium heat. Add leeks, bell pepper, garlic and fennel to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently for approximately 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
- Add tomatoes (with juices), olives, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and red wine vinegar to the leek mixture. Stir all ingredients well to combine and then simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add cooked noodles to the tomato sauce, stir to coat noodles over low heat.
- Serve with feta to be added to individual servings.