Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quick and Easy Lemon Caper Pasta

After a winter of cooking and baking away my winter doldrums, when the weather looks like it does this morning (bright, sunny day) who can blame me for wanting to stay outside and play with the boys rather than cooking inside?

This pasta dish is a new twist on a quick (read: less time in the kitchen, more time outside) no-cook pasta sauce that is quite tasty. Fresh lemon, briny capers and olives and creamy feta combine to create a really wonderful tasting, quick and easy, healthful pasta. As an extra touch, you can toast up some breadcrumbs for the unconventional but contemporary way to finish off your pasta.

Just look at how tasty it looks:

For SPH and I, we included steamed asparagus, the boys had green peas with their pasta. Want a quick and easy multi-tasking way to steam your asparagus and/or peas while the pasta cooks?

Cook them in a strainer while the pasta cooks, and by the time your pasta is cooked, your sauce will be complete!

Lemon Caper Pasta

1 pound penne or other small or medium size pasta, preferably whole wheat
1/2 cup drained and rinsed capers
1/2 cup chopped olives
1 - 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
optional: steamed asparagus, sweet peas, green beans
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Cook the penne or pasta according to the package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, steam the asparagus, peas or beans, if using until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the capers, olives, artichoke hearts, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, feta cheese and ground pepper.

If desired, toast the breadcrumbs under your broiler for a minute or two, or until slightly browned.

Drain the pasta, but allow a tablespoon or two of the cooking water to remain. Add the caper mixture to the pasta and toss lightly. Add the asparagus, peas or beans, if using and toss lightly.

Serve immediately, topping with 1-2 tablespoons breadcrumbs.

Serves 4-6.


PS--Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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