MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SAUCE

MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SAUCE

Sautéed peppers and onion simmered with garlic and olives in a coriander, mint and red wine tomato sauce.  Serve over pasta of choice.

Makes 7-1/2 cups sauce

3 T. olive oil

1 jumbo green pepper, cored and cut from end to end into 6 segments, then crosswise into 1/4-3/8 inch thick slices

3-4 small yellow onions, the kind that come in netted bags, peeled; cut off ends, cut in half from end to end, then crosswise into half rings

1 t. salt

15 oz. can tomato sauce

2, 14-1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with liquid

6 oz. can tomato paste mixed with 4 cans water in separate bowl till smooth

5 cloves peeled, fresh garlic, finely chopped

1 T. Kalamata olive paste or a similarly pungent olive paste

1/4 c. pitted Nicoise olives; pit olives by squeezing them between fingers and thumb till they pop out; it’s easy with these tiny olives; if you substitute a Kalamata olive, then use a cherry pitter or a knife to cut around pit

2 T. ground coriander

1 T. dried mint

1 T. dried basil, finely crushed

1/2 t. ground allspice

lots of freshly ground black or green peppercorn, about 1 t.

1/3 c. full-bodied red wine (I used Gallo Cabernet)

In extra-large skillet, over medium heat, melt olive oil. Add green pepper, onion and salt, then saute, stirring often, till wilted.

Add everything else, except the wine. Stir well to evenly disperse all ingredients. Cook, uncovered, over low heat, at a fizzle of a boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add wine. Stir well to incorporate, then turn heat off and let set till ready to serve. Reheat while your pasta cooks.

Notes: This sauce goes well with almost every kind of pasta. If you can’t eat grains, cook long grain rice (Basmati or Jasmine). Ladle sauce into a broad-based bowl, then mold a half cup rice per serving into center of sauce. Garnish with chopped olive and serve.

The heat comes from the peppercorns. The mint is muted just enough to enhance the other flavors.

I used red wine because of it’s stronger than white flavor. But you use whatever you want. I served the same wine with the dish and it complimented it beautifully.

To variate slightly, you may want to add just a hint of cinnamon.

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