Along with just about everyone else in the food blogging world, I was sad to hear about the demise of Gourmet. I had been getting the magazine for 16 years when it went away. Truth be told, I actually always preferred the recipes in Bon Appétit and Food and Wine, but I still looked forward to receiving my issue each month. In my four notebooks where I have years of cut-out recipes, there are countless ones with the Gourmet font. Including this one.
This recipe is on the second page of my “pasta” section which means I cut it out way back in 1993 or so. Grunge. Living in a crappy one-bedroom apartment in a crappy building in a great neighborhood. Just learning to cook for myself. Working as a singing-dancing waitress on a dinner cruise ship. Oh yes, I did. Yes I did. I did “The Electric Slide” with strangers and got paid for it.
These many years later, I still make this dish and it is one of Randy’s favorites. If you are a vegetarian, you probably often get the “Do you eat a lot of pasta?” question. (Or my other favorite, “Do you eat a lot of salad?”) The truth is that I don’t eat a lot of pasta. It is often my only choice in a restaurant so I eat it out, but I don’t make a lot of it at home. Not for any good reason, I love pasta, I just find there are a lot of other interesting things to eat in the vegetarian world.
Here are some really good things I can say about this one. It’s fast. The sauce is done in the time it takes to cook the noodles. It is dead easy – no sautéing – just putting all the ingredients together in a pot and cooking them down a bit. It is made with pantry staples, you always have Kalamata olives, tomato paste, and garlic on hand, right? And it’s really tasty. Kind of like a poor man’s puttanesca (and a vegetarian one at that.) Lastly, this is a very low-fat and low-calorie dish. The only fat comes from the olives and that is good fat, the heart-healthy kind. OK, yes, there is a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top, but that is optional and besides, it’s just a sprinkle. I have changed the recipe quite a bit in the years I have been making it. It was originally called Bruce’s Pasta Sauce but I’m changing it to Bruce and Dana’s Pasta Sauce.
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Bruce and Dana’s Pasta Sauce
Loosely adapted from Gourmet
This is the kind of sauce that really hugs the noodles so it is best with something short and ridgey, like radiattore. In this dish, I like it pretty dry, so I usually make one pound of pasta with this much sauce. This last time, I made 3/4 of a pound and you can see it is a little saucier. Do what you like best. Also, if you don’t sprinkle with Parmesan, this dish is vegan.
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup water
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like heat)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. dry red wine
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Boil pasta (3/4 to 1 pound) until al dente. Scoop the pasta directly into the sauce pan and stir well to combine. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.