|Self-Portrait, of course|
Yes, she's really that tiny and adorable
Photo taken in our hometown at the top of the fire tower in Oubache State Park
This is my Aunt Syl. For 29 years, that's how I knew her. And then H began talking, and he began referring to her adoringly as "Aunt Siwwy." (Those l's were quite a challenge) How did I never think of this?! The kid's brilliant. And so is Aunt Sylly. I've learned a lot from her over the years about general life things: happiness, always being true to myself, casinos, Belgian beers, living a good life, many uses for a pacifier clip, Rod Stewart, how to climb a tower, and this recipe.
Last week I finalized our Spring Break plans. Spring Break is one of my favorite reasons to be a teacher. Sure, there are a lot less busy travel times to get out of dodge, but having a Spring Break inspires me to be sure that we do. This year, we're heading to Disneyland for a few days, then heading to the beach to visit Aunt Sylly. And I couldn't be more excited! I think B and I are more excited than the kids. Like they need a vacation.
A few years ago, on an east coast beach trip to Isle of Palms, SC, Aunt Syl made this pasta for us. I know what you're thinking. "Pasta?! At the beach?! Bloat! Heavy! Ugh!" Well, my (now 3! Yay!) readers, this pasta is perfect all year round. I loved it then, and enjoy it on a regular basis now.
First in pictures.
|What you need.|
Minus the bananas. I have a really small kitchen.
And obviously, I do my shopping at Trader Joe's. You don't have to.
|Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.|
|Add the kalamata olives just before serving|
|The finished product.|
This is an ENORMOUS bowl.
|This family eats. Plates shown from tallest to smallest.|
B's pasta mountain is covering some of his broccoli.
|H's first bite.|
|L showing that eating with utensils is optional. And adorable.|
As you can see from the many, many pictures above, I served our Aunt Sylly Pasta tonight with baked tilapia seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning and broccoli. Part of the whole healthy thing I'm trying to do. Often, we eat this dish for Meatless Monday. Sometimes, I cube about a pound of chicken breasts and saute it with the onions and garlic before adding the tomatoes. That's B's favorite way to enjoy the Sylly Pasta. Do what you love.
Aunt Sylly Pasta
- 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- crushed red pepper - to taste
- 2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
- 1 jar kalamata olives
- salt and pepper - to taste
- 16 oz. whole wheat penne pasta (You could, of course, use whatever kind of pasta you like.)
- parmesan-type cheese (I bought a shaved blend because I'm cheap. And lazy today.)
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan/skillet.
- Add onion and garlic. Saute until soft (about 5 minutes)
- Add basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Saute another minute or until the spices are fragrant.
- Add tomatoes. Stir it up. Now would be a good time to start boiling your pasta water.
- Once you sauce is boiling, (bubbling?) stick a lid on it and turn the heat down to medium/low. Let that simmer.
- Once the pasta water is boiling, cook the noodles according to package directions.
- About 5 minutes before removing the sauce from the stove, stir in the kalamata olives. I like to cut mine in half first when I'm serving this to my kids because sometimes there are pits in them. I try to avoid performing the Heimlich when enjoying dinner.
- Mix the pasta and sauce together in a (huge) bowl.
- Top with some parmesan, or serve with some at the table. Or skip it altogether.
**This recipe is NOT an exact science. In fact, today is the first time I've ever measured while preparing it. Normally, I just add seasonings until it looks like enough. Also, this may not be how Aunt Syl makes her pasta sauce at all. But it's how I remember it. So it's how I make it. And it's delicious.