Olives are simply comfort food for me; such fond memories embedded in my childhood. This Tuscan Pomodoro takes me back to those holidays around the table with friends, neighbors, and delicious olives.
I have this thing about olives. I mean, like, beyond the fact that they’re insanely good with their salty, hearty, delicious goodness. But, I REALLY have a thing about black olives.
I think I was like most kids growing up; picky and wasn’t fond of the green version. But a can of the black? I could eat those in a heartbeat. And to hear the ‘rents tell it, I was a monster where black olives were concerned.
You see, as the story goes, I would pluck an olives from the tray and carefully place them on my fingers. So, imagine the mini-AKHA with black olives attached to her fingers running around the house for the holidays. Yeah. I can imagine that’s quite a picture. And I was totally adorbs growing up, too, with my almost white blonde hair that was curly and freckles across my cheeks and nose. I’m still adorable, but just with fewer freckles. And the olives don’t fit on my fingers as well.
Fast forward a couple of decades.
It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and we get the call. Ya know, one of those calls where you wish you hadn’t answered the phone? Apparently, my grandmother, my paternal grandmother, had slipped and fallen and is now in a coma. Well, I never said all the memories were good ones. Mom and I convince Dad that he has to go help his sister deal with their mother being in a coma in the hospital. Talk about avoidance… He finally went, but that left us girls alone for the Thanksgiving.
So, there goes the large Thanksgiving dinner we usually have and it was just me, my mother, and Lenore the piano teacher. Granted she’s become much more than that but that’s just how we met her so that’s how I always refer to her as; Lenore the piano teacher. Lenore brought this delicious stuff called tapenade to the table that Thanksgiving. Having never HAD tapenade ever in my life before, I was hooked. And I was also pissed. How did I miss this amazing olive based dish? Oh. I have to make up for lost time on this one!
And now, due to time constraints, we move further ahead in our story. Oh, if you’re not an ESPN watcher you won’t get that one.
The hubs, then BF, and I were preparing dinner for Dad and R in our first ever apartment together. He wanted to make a kalamata olive based bruschetta. Well, I used the mini Cuisi we had and apparently filled it too full. It got pulverized. He was not happy with my choice of appliances for the job and commented on how it looked like a paste and not bruschetta. Then there may or may not have been a comment about not serving it. So, I said I’d just go get more ingredients to make again. And left the apartment. Of course, the uber sensitive person I am, was crying on the way to the store.
When I got back, he apologized. And, like I said previously, not all these specific memories are good ones. They’re just ones that sort of stand out when I think about olives. That doesn’t account for the decades of happy holidays where olives were present but not part of the memories. Like the one Christmas where my sister ran past the tree and it fell over. Or that one time that I got sick off stuffing. Or the Christmas where I got engaged to the love of my life! Those aren’t olive specific memories, but you can bet they were there; bystanders to my holiday memories.
And then, there’s this dish to make new memories with! Since I love me a good pomodoro and I love olives, I love putting them together all Tuscan like. I even used the last of my Tuscan spice mix to season up the sauce. Now, I need to make more of it. And the taco seasoning I used last night’s Taco Joes. And the fajita seasoning that is DA BOMB! Which reminds me, neither of those last two mixes are on my blog. I need to remedy that because they truly are delicious!
This dish is actually trying to capture the memories of delicious tomatoes in season. I usually make this with fresh tomatoes, but those are like plastic here now so I opted for some oven blistered canned tomatoes for this sauce. I wanted the light and sweet flavor of the tomatoes with a little bit of twist. Usually I roast the whole, canned tomatoes in the oven, but this time I broiled them. I actually let a few of them get a little dark (the hubs said burnt, but I didn’t think they tasted burnt) in hopes of concentrating their sweet flavor. And it worked!
I hear ya. This is like a Puttanesca! No, not really. Puttanesca has green olives, capers, and usually anchovies, which I DO NOT like. So, no, this isn’t a puttanesca because there’s not green but black olives, there’s no capers, and there’s definitely NO anchovies. It’s also not a spicy as a puttanesca, which has more crushed red pepper flakes than my Tuscan mix has.
This, my dear readers, is Tuscan Pomodoro! It has sweet tomatoes mixed with salty, earthy kalamata olives. They are the perfect pair in this super simple supper. Add in some Parmesan garlic crostini and it’s a light and easy meal any night of the week!
And since I’ve saved the best for last…
Make sure to enter the Mezzetta giveaway for a digital camera and olive gift basket. The blue cheese stuffed olives are TO DIE FOR! Seriously. Then once you’ve entered, scroll down and print the coupon off your next jar of Mezzetta olives!
• Grand Prize (1) – Instant Print Digital Camera plus a Ultimate Olive Lover’s Gift Basket including Mezzetta Olives, Olive Spoon, Cutting Board, Olive Bowl, Cocktail Napkins and Recipe Card.
• Runner Up Prizes (10) – Ultimate Olive Lover’s Gift Basket including Mezzetta Olives, Olive Spoon, Cutting Board, Olive Bowl, Cocktail Napkins and Recipe Card.
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- 28 ounces canned whole, peeled tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/3 cup chopped, Kalamata, black olives
- 2 teaspoons Tuscan seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta
- Cook pasta according to package directions omitting salt and fat.
- While the pasta is cooking preheat the broiler.
- Remove the tomatoes from the can, reserving the sauce, and place the them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Broil the tomatoes 5 to 7 minutes or until they start to blacken on top. Turn the tomatoes over and cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until the tomatoes start to blacken again.
- Remove then from the oven and allow to cool while you prep the sauce.
- Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray. Sauté the garlic 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Once the tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, chop the tomatoes into the pan using your kitchen shears. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until the juices from the tomatoes have evaporated. Pour the remaining juice from the canned tomatoes into the pan with the olives and simmer until the pasta is cooked.
- Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Fold the pasta into the tomato mixture and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread.