Thursday, June 13, 2019

Pasta with ochre, tomatoes and black olives #recipe from Essie Lang, author

I call this my easiest-yet pasta dish mainly because it didn't take much thinking, or doing. I'm getting used to this new diet which means I have to make several new choices in what foods I choose to eat.

This meant I couldn't use my usual go-to for pasta: broccoli, garlic, shallots, and cheese. I also had to opt for brown rice pasta, which is not a major chore because I think it tastes pretty good.

What I chose was ochre, small and sweet grape tomatoes, and black olives. My pasta dish always includes chicken strips so I was delighted to be able to continue with that.  Also, still on my can-eat list is olive oil...what more does a gal need!

This recipe is for one serving so I've adjusted the quantities accordingly.  Also, my trade secret is, I used pre-cooked chicken strips.

I'm sharing this recipes because I know there are quite a few of you readers also watching what types of foods you eat. I think the ochre is a bit out of the box for this dish but it tastes great. So, maybe you'll start thinking outside the box, too. Or, maybe you already do.

I'd love to hear some adjustments you're making.

What you'll need:

ochre, sliced
grape tomatoes, sliced in half
black olives, slice in small portions
pre-cooked chicken strips, either fresh or frozen
fresh basil
olive oil and extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

1.  In a small skillet, heat regular olive oil then saute first three ingredients in it until the ochre has a bit of a singe to it and the tomatoes are oozing.

2.  Start the pasta, according to instructions on the package.

3.  When ochre mixture is ready, scoop into a bowl and cover to keep it warm. Add more olive oil and heat the chicken strips.

4. Pasta is done, strain and plate, adding extra virgin olive oil.

5. Mix the ochre mixture back in with the chicken and then add all to the pasta. Chop basil and garnish.

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  1. Hi Essie,
    I was intrigued with the "ochre" in the title of your pasta recipe. It wasn't until I saw the photo of ingredients that it was the okra I had grown up with. My grandmother (and her son, my father) were great cooks and the most common way of preparation in the South was to slice it into 1/2" rounds, coat with cornmeal and then fry until golden. When I was in my twenties I found the second most common way to use okra was to cook (boil) with tomatoes, which was just a slimy mess to me.
    Southerners are about the only ones who know or cook okra which came here from Africa with the onset of the slave trade. It took a long time, and a prolonged, bloody war, before white people were forced to live with slavery being abolished, and not quite as long to figure out that Africans had way better food and ingredients.
    Your recipe is a big leap forward in the use of okra and I'm looking forward to trying this dish. One thing I will be adding is onions. They seem to make everything tastier and are good for you!

  2. I was puzzled by "ochre" at first, too, thinking of the paint colorant and wondering if it was a new spice, but also thinking maybe it was okra -- a veggie I'd never have thought of putting with pasta! So thanks for broadening our vegetable horizons!

  3. I love okra and this looks like a wonderful and tasty way to use it. My first experience with it was Indian food and have been enamored with it ever since.

  4. Add me to the "ochre" confusion club!
    My mother, being a good southern lady, made fried okra. I was never much of a fan.
    As PMoore mentioned, it can get nasty slimy if mishandled.

  5. Did you mean Okra the vegetable? I grew up in New England but have lived in the South for 50 years. Still can't eat that slimy stuff. LOL