If you haven’t noticed, we have some kind of pasta on our menu almost every week. I guess I can’t get away from it, but hey, what can I say? Sometimes, though, plain old pasta with red sauce or alfredo can get pretty boring — especially for someone like Billy who’s favorite food isn’t full or carbs. Last weekend we went through some recipes from one of Billy’s favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver. He had a recipe for spaghetti with smashed olives, tomatoes and garlic with wilted arugula that caught our eye, so we gave it a shot.

Here’s what you’ll need for the sauce:
– olive oil
– salt and pepper
– 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 small dried chili (we just used red pepper flakes)
– 3 “good handfuls” cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
– 1 “good handful” of olives, crushed and pitted
– 3 “good handfuls” arugula, roughly chopped
(Jamie Oliver’s recipes are never very exact, but they’re really easy and you can make them the way you prefer without fearing that you’ll screw up the recipe.)

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium pan on medium-high heat and fry up the garlic and chili until they start to turn brown. If the oil is hot enough, this should only take about a minute. Add the tomatoes and olives and let cook for four to six minutes. The tomatoes will begin the burst, creating a chunky sauce. Before draining the pasta, reserve about a cup of the cooking water. Toss the drained pasta with the tomato and olive sauce, adding the arugula while everything is still hot to give it time to wilt. Top with freshly grated parmesean cheese and you’re done!

This was definitely something different, but it was really tasty. The sauce isn’t very thick at all, but it coats each strand of spaghetti and you can taste the garlic, tomatoes and olives throughout. The arugula and olives give the dish an unexpected bite while the tomatoes balance everything out giving it a really fresh taste. Overall, a pretty good dish!

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P.S. I couldn’t find a copy of the original recipe anywhere online (weird, right?), but it can be found in Jamie’s book The Naked Chef Takes Off.

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