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- Dish type
- Side dish
This olive spread is intensely flavoured. Use as a spread, a dip or use with pasta.
1 person made this
- 225g whole, pitted kalamata olives
- 115g feta cheese
- 55g chopped pecans
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
MethodPrep:10min ›Ready in:10min
- In a food processor, blend kalamata olives, feta cheese, pecans, garlic and olive oil. Adjust amount of olive oil as needed to attain a pesto-like consistency.
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Mediterranean Pasta Salad
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A simple Mediterranean pasta salad loaded with fresh arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, pine nuts, kalamata olives, basil pesto and so much more! It’s a copy-cat recipe for Cafe Express’s Pasta Amore and let me just say it’s actually BETTER!
My friends, I present to you, L❤️VE in a bowl.
But really! It is. And it’s not just what Cafe Express calls it on their menu — Pasta Amore. A lot of you may know it as a Mediterranean pasta salad. And when it’s been raining for almost 3 weeks straight and you’re on edge because you need to shoot recipes for the upcoming weeks and just can’t seem to catch a perfect sunny day, you may even know it as comfort food. ?
This Italian inspired pasta salad was a dish at the besties baby shower this past January which came from a Texas based restaurant called Cafe Express. One bite and you’ll know what I mean, flavors from the basil pesto mingling with the pine nuts and the richness of sun-dried tomatoes while you get a little freshness from the arugula and nutty parmesan. This is love. You want more. And ever since then, it’s been on my mind to make over and over again. So much so, that I actually dreamt about it.
Just take a look at all the goodness that’s going into this one pasta salad recipe. We’re tossing in marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, capers, homemade pesto, parmesan cheese, arugula and scallions. But you know what the best part is? The only thing you need to cook is the pasta. Which means this salad can be served at room temperature or cold <– which means that you can absolutely make it ahead of time <– which means it’s the perfect pasta salad to take to all your gatherings this summer.
By know, i’m sure i’ve expressed to you the importance of a good pasta salad. There’s so much going into this salad recipe. It’s loaded with Mediterranean flavor and isn’t ‘leafy based’ which means it’s full of filling ingredients. And the best part? It’s NOT mayonnaise based. So it’s healthier too! And on top of that, it feeds a crowd! Theres is just so much goodness going into this recipe that it’ll easily feed 12-14 people as a small side if you’re planning on taking this to book club or a summer barbecue. I served this with grilled chicken on the side but you could just add cooked diced chicken into the Mediterranean pasta salad as well to make it even more hearty and filling! And how amazing would that be for bagged lunches? Definitely saves you time and $. Not to mention makes your co-workers slightly jealous of the delicious aromas erupting out of your brown-bag.
I’m telling you, you need this Mediterranean pasta salad in your life.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad (28 sec.):
Broccoli Pesto Pasta Notes & Tips
- This pasta comes together quickly for weeknight dinners. It’s ready in just over 30 minutes.
- Kelly says this pasta can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled, so it’s perfect for all seasons.
- This pasta could easily be made dairy free/vegan. Just omit the cheese, and see the recipe notes for suggested alternatives.
- Use as much of the pesto as you’d like, and freeze any leftover pesto for later (see recipe note for details). I love saucy pastas, so I used all of it.
- I love to serve this pasta with a few dollops of ricotta, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a light drizzle of olive oil. If you (or your kids) prefer more mellow flavors, serve it as written instead!
- ¾ pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
- ¾ pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons butter, or as needed
- 1 (8 ounce) package feta cheese, diced
- 8 tablespoons pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ⅔ cups heavy cream
- 1 (3.5 ounce) jar pesto
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Season chicken breasts and thighs with salt and pepper.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in the hot butter until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish. Add feta cheese, olives, and garlic.
Mix heavy cream and pesto together in a bowl. Pour over the chicken mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, until top is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.
How to make kalamata olive spread
A few notes about our Kalamata olive spread: since a little goes a long way, we didn’t want you to make a massive quantity. Our recipe is for just ½ cup. To blend such a small quantity, we recommend using an immersion blender, mortar and pestle, or small food processor. You could also double the recipe and make it in a large food processor or blender, scraping down the sides as necessary. It’s simplest using pitted Kalamata olives for this Kalamata olive spread. We’ve added just a bit of red wine vinegar and oregano to make the flavors pop.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add in garlic and sauté until translucent. Then add cleaned shrimp, dried basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Turn off the heat.
Add in olives, pine nuts and the pesto. Stir to completely coat everything with pesto and blend the flavors.
Transfer to serving dish and add halved cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese then finish with a garnish of chopped Italian parsley.
Sun-dried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Flat Bread
Now could not be a better time to take the ‘Tasty and Healthy New Year Challenge’, and to reevaluate the brands you are using in your kitchen. California Olive Ranch (COR) and Bob’s Red Mill (BRM) have teamed up with our Virtual Potluck, to bring you the healthiest and most delicious recipes possible, along with fabulous giveaways! Our plan is to help you incorporate better foods into your diet such as olive oil and whole grains. This weeks challenge is appetizers!
Each week all twelve of the Virtual Potluck bloggers will introduce a new recipe using one product from Bob’s Red Mill and one from California Olive Ranch. That is twelve chances to win spectacular products. This week I decided to make Sun-dried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Flat Bread. I’m working with Arbequina Olive Oil that has a flavor profile of tropical fruit and fresh artichoke. It is best used on salad greens and in garden pestos. I have also chosen Organic 100% Stone Ground Hard White Whole Wheat Flour to work with from Bob’s Red Mill. It contains all of the healthy ingredients from the wheat-berry, including the germ, bran, and fiber from the endosperm.
Since 1978 when their doors opened, Bobs Red Mill has used traditional time-honored techniques in milling, and their stone grinding mills are much like the ones used during early Roman times. Their quartz millstones produce a finer product unlike high-speed steel rollers, and their stone mills ensure the most nutritious parts of the whole grain remain, so the all-natural goodness is packed right into your bag. If you want to see the mill in action, click here.
California Olive Ranch has a legacy that spans 300 years when the Spanish brought the olive trees to California. They grow and harvest all of their own olives and cold press within hours of picking to bring you the freshest product possible. Every 100% recyclable bottle displays the harvest date and is in specified green glass to protect the olive oil from light keeping it fresher longer. I especially love the olive shaped finger grips on the side of the bottle to ensure the perfect pour. If you want to read more articles on COR’s award winning olive oil, click here.
When trying olive oil, remember the four S’s swirl, smell, slurp and swallow. Head Miller for California Olive Ranch, Bob Singletary, has conducted thousands of tastings throughout his career. Click here for his tips on properly tasting olive oil, and here to learn more about the people that bring you this wonderful product.
Here are a few tips you should know about your oil. Check the date on the olive oil in your pantry. It needs to be consumed when young, and discarded within a year of bottling, as it can become rancid. I prefer to purchase smaller bottles, and avoid the super-sized to ensure freshness. You will want to store your bottles in a cool, dark location, in an airtight container, away from sunlight and heat from the oven or stove.
Since my daughter is a huge fan of pesto, and we all adore kalamata olives, we came up with our Sun-dried Tomato, Kalamata Olive & Basil Pesto Flat Bread. Though it was to be an appetizer, I paired it with a beautiful salad of local greens from my farmers market. I also used the Arbequina drizzled on top as a dressing. After rolling out the dough, I coated it with the Arbequina Olive Oil, then spread the pesto on top. I added the julienned sun-dried tomatoes, cut the kalamata olives in pieces with kitchen shears, and sprinkled shaved parmesan cheese and sea salt on top. It was irresistible!
Sundried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Flat Bread:
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons Arbequina Olive Oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with olive oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
- Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet or stone. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt.
- Top focaccia with desired ingredients if any. ( sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, pesto and parmesan)
- Bake focaccia in 425 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you’ll have to wait just about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes. I like it crispy!
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup Arbequina Olive Oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- Combine all ingredients but oil in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add in the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with ground salt and pepper.
Contest has ended:
Are you ready to get in on the Action like Oliver the Pug? Then you must visit either Bob’s Red Mill or California Olive Ranch on Facebook to retrieve this weeks Virtual Potluck code word! Each week will be different as we giveaway new and good for you products!
If you want to visit the twelve other bloggers in Virtual Potluck for twelve more chances to win, go to our host blog by clicking here now! By following all twelve each week, you not only get 48 super new healthy recipes, you have 48 chances to win! I know I would!
This flexible pesto pasta is a keeper for whatever vegetable you have handy
Pesto belongs in the pantheon of flexible recipes. Sure, the classic combination is basil, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil, but I’ve made it with all manner of nuts, hard cheeses and leafy herbs (or other greens) and been perfectly happy.
This is my way of saying: Here is another recipe I’ve tried to design for maximum adaptability and therefore maximum utility in this time of maximum anxiety. This simple, bright and pretty pasta dish from the great Yotam Ottolenghi originally called for anchovies in the pesto, but as a vegetarian I used kalamata olives instead. It’s already a little deconstructed, with the cheese (pecorino) and nuts (pistachios) going in the final dish rather than in the pesto, and you could switch those up at will.
The feel-free-to-substitute nature goes beyond the pesto. Ottolenghi specified thinly sliced snow peas, but guess what we could find in stores? Snap peas. I’ve also made successful versions with asparagus, and I’m confident broccoli would be a success.
Cook the pasta | Bring the pan of salted water to the boil | Add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than stated on the packet instructions
Meanwhile, make the breadcrumbs | Blitz the bread to coarse breadcrumbs in a food processor | Tip the crumbs into the frying pan along with the dried oregano | Add the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are coated | Put the pan over a medium heat and toast until the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp | Tip into a small bowl and set aside, keeping the frying pan handy
Make the pesto | Reserve a few herbs for garnish and put the rest into the food processor | Blitz together with all the other pesto ingredients until well combined but not completely smooth
Combine | Once the pasta is cooked, put the frying pan over a medium-high heat | Add the pesto to the hot pan with a ladleful of the pasta water | Use tongs to transfer the pasta directly from the saucepan into the frying pan and toss until the pasta is coated with the pesto sauce | Taste and season with salt and pepper
Serve | Swirl the pasta into bowls | Top with a drizzle of olive oil and the oregano breadcrumbs | Scatter with the reserved herbs
Bow Tie Pesto
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, halved
2/3 cup olive oil
1 package (16 ounce size) bow tie pasta, cooked
1 can (14 ounce size) artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips