As often as I get Writer's Block, I just as often am afflicted with Chef's Block. As with my cyclical moods for writing, I go through these episodes where I am feeling especially creative in the kitchen. I am in the midst of one of these cooking frenzies right now and find myself coming up with some pretty tasty things. Tonight I created "Pasta a la M.E.!"...a dish brimming over with so much flavor and healthy goodness, my mouth is doing the happy dance! Yes - sometimes I get it right!
You should know that I dont really believe in exact recipes. If cooking is not instinctual, then that takes some of the joy out of it. With the exception of baking, there is very little you can do to completely muck up a dish as long as you know the ingredients you are working with and have an idea of how they will taste together. For me, the key is thinking outside the box, putting together ingredients that you may not immediately think will go together. It is with this in mind that I created this dish, featuring some of my favorite flavors! I hope you enjoy this as much as I have enjoyed conceiving and indulging in it! Word to the wise, these are only approximate measures. Please use your best judgement. You can adjust the spice up and down by using plain olives or adding red chili flakes are your will.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
About 20 large, pitted green olives marinated in chili flakes, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes (any brand, any flavor - I used green pepper and onion)
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 jar Barilla marinara sauce (or your favorite brand; Barilla happens to be mine)
1 lb of medium shrimp (cooked or raw - up to you)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 Bottle of Luna di Luna Merlot-Cabarnet (for the cook)
Over medium-high heat saute the garlic and onions w/ salt & pepper in EVOO until tender. Add the olives and saute for about 5 minutes on medium. Add the spinach and saute for another 5-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes & sauce and stir. Let simmer together for about 10 minutes, then add the shrimp. Simmer on medium for about 15 minutes. Serve over your pasta of choice; I choose whole wheat linguine and it was PHENOMENAL! Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy with red wine.
As with any sauce, this will taste better the next day so if you can, make ahead and reheat.