I am a Die Hard Pasta Fan

I am a die hard pasta fan.  Because of that I am very successful at failing diets that require a low consumption of carbohydrates (the empty kind).  When the day is busy and dinner has not been planned spaghetti is always my go-to option.  Fortunately, everyone in our house loves pasta as much as I do.  In fact, I don’t know too many people who do not enjoy pasta.  It’s such a comfort food and can be changed up in so many ways.

Rigatoni Pasta with Kalamata Olive Pesto 2

When tomato sauce becomes redundant I like to switch up my pasta dishes with either something creamy and/or herbaceous.  When I have a hankering for garlic yummy goodness I can always count on pesto to be the sauce.  Pesto is usually thought of as  a green mixture of garlic, fresh basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and some kind of special ingredient.  One evening I knew that I didn’t have fresh basil or spinach, but I did have a jar of pitted Kalamata olives.  My husband, Jeff, and I love olives.  I thought it would be fun to see if I could make a pesto-inspired sauce using these olives.  Interestingly enough, our son, Rayden, also loves Kalamata olives, but not the green or black ones (ha!).  This pesto is very satisfying and is not overwhelming with the tangy flavor often associated with Kalamata olives.  I hope you enjoy this pesto.  I can imagine it would be delicious as a side topping for a cheese/cracker plate or a spread in a tasty baguette sandwich, too.

Rigatoni with Kalamata Olive Pesto

Ingredient List

1 teaspoon of Dried Basil
Dried Parsley for garnish
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 chopped Garlic Cloves
½ – 1 cup of  Kalamata Olives
¼ – ½ cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 ounces Pine Nuts
8 ounces of Rigatoni Pasta
Salt and Pepper
1-2 chopped Shallot

To start, bring water to a boil in a stock pot and gently submerge RIGATONI PASTA

  • Then lower the heat to medium or medium-high and cook the the pasta until it is easy to bite through (10-15 minutes)
    • Stir occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick to each other or to the bottom of the pot
    • If the water boils over simply lower the heat

While the pasta cooks prepare the Kalamata olive pesto:

  • Chop GARLIC CLOVES and SHALLOTS and put in a mixing bowl
  • Add the PINE NUTS and drizzle EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL and a pinch of SALT on top
    • Mix all the ingredients together
  • Using a saute-pan, bring it to medium-high heat and cook the ingredients from the mixing bowl
    • Cooking these ingredients beforehand will cut down on the sharp spiciness from the garlic and shallot while releasing their comforting flavors and aromas

Take out a food processor and:

  • Add the KALAMATA OLIVES, cooked ingredients, DRIED BASIL and PARMESAN CHEESE
  • Then blend until all of the ingredients are fine
  • Once the ingredients are blended, take the lid off of the food processor and taste it to see how much SALT, PEPPER, and EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL to add
  • Blend again until you get the flavor and consistency you enjoy

Once the pasta is done drain the water out into a colander

  • Keep the pasta in the pot and add the pesto
  • Mix together until every piece of rigatoni is covered with the pesto
    • If the pasta is sticking together simply drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and mix
  • Serve and garnish with DRIED PARSLEY and more grated Parmesan cheese




Go back to: Main Courses

Follow Tree House Cooking on Facebook and Instagram

Leave a Reply