Today's dinner mission is brought to you by my husband's birthday dinner request - spaghetti with olives. Several years ago I discovered this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network's web site. My husband has said this is easily, hands down, his favorite spaghetti recipe.
Here's what you'll need
Spaghetti with Olives
1 lb spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups kalamata olives
1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes, plus more if desired
3 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Salt and black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
Begin by dicing all your vegetables so they are ready as you need them.
Add onions and garlic to sautee pan and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add carrots and celery to onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 to 10 minutes, until vegetables have softened.
After your vegetables have softened, add your bay leaves.
Add crushed tomatoes to sauce. Cook uncovered 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Once sauce has thickened, remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. Remove 1/2 the sauce and place in a food processor to blend until smooth. I have a hand blender, so instead of dragging out my food processor for this I used the hand blender to blend it until smooth.
In a separate pan, prepare the spaghetti according to manufacturers recommendations. In a large skillet, add a few tablespoons of oil and sautee your olives. Add 3 cups of your tomato sauce to the pan and heat thoroughly.
Once your spaghetti is cooked, add it to the sauce and toss to coat. If need, add some pasta water to help thin sauce slightly.
Top with fresh basil leaves and Parmesan cheese. Serve with your favorite bread.