Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 20 | Pasta Amore {Cafe Express Style}

About a month ago we visited friends in Houston and ate out at Cafe Express.  To be honest, I don't have anything nice to say about Cafe Express, but it was close and convenient while we were out and about, so we gave it a go.  {If you love Cafe Express, please forgive me for raggin' on them.  All I can say is when you cook fresh food at home on a regular basis, you notice how much salt is in restaurant food.  Plus, you don't want to pay for a poorly cooked meal when you could make it better, yourself, at home.}

Surprisingly, the Pasta Amore wasn't as heavy on the salt.  It was made of just a few ingredients {which I'm pretty sure didn't cost the $9 I paid for it}, but they managed to keep it fresh and not mess it up.  I won't tell you about the other disappointments dishes we ordered. 

My rendition of the $9 Pasta Amore from Cafe Express...


4 cups dry pasta, cooked and drained {I used shells, you can use whatever you have on hand}
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
1/2 16 oz bag frozen quartered artichoke
1 4 oz can chopped black olives
2-3 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonaded {I know, I'm gettin' fancy here}
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
shredded parmesean for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add minced garlic and saute until golden, reducing heat to medium.  Add frozen artichoke and saute for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add diced tomatoes and chopped black olives and continue to cook until artichokes are cooked through.  Add basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add pasta to skillet and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.  Garnish with parmesean and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Serves 4 generously.

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