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Easy meal: Greek pasta recipe

This quick pasta dish includes the flavors of the Mediterranean. I like to chop up some salty kalamata olives to scatter over the top and maybe some fresh basil, too. Serve it as a main dish or a side for grilled pork or lamb chops.

Note: Today's recipe is just one example of the recipes you can get by e-mail every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon. Sign up for Easy Meal Ideas From Janet's Kitchen, and you'll have recipes and kitchen tips delivered to your in-box. Go to

Janet K. Keeler, Times food and travel editor

Tips from Janet's kitchen

• One medium ear of corn equals about 3/4 cup of kernels. This is a handy thing to know as you enjoy the last of summer bounty of fresh corn.

• Commercial mushrooms are grown in a sterile environment, so they don't need to be washed under water. Plus, the water will soak in and dilute their flavor. Gently brush off any dirt with a brush or a paper towel. If you must put them under water, do it quickly and dry them immediately.

• Don't let fresh herbs go to waste. Leafy ones (parsley, basil, chives, tarragon, dill) are especially good snipped into green salads. They add refreshing flavor.

Salt is one of the primary ingredients in lemon pepper seasoning, which seems a bit weird since a lot of people reach for it as a salt substitute. To make the equivalent of 1 teaspoon yourself, mix 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and a pinch of lemon zest.

Fish sauce is an amber-colored liquid made from tiny fish fermented in brine. Fish sauce is a fundamental ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese food, just as soy sauce is in Japanese and Chinese dishes. It's not the best-smelling ingredient in the world, but it gives Southeast Asian dishes a certain taste that is difficult to get from anything else. Buy the smallest bottle you can find and try it in a recipe.

• To seed cucumbers, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds out gently with the tip of a small spoon. A serrated grapefruit spoon works really well. If you want the cuke peeled, do that before you seed it.

• Consider slicing rather than mincing garlic to prevent it from burning or browning too much when you saute it. If the garlic is going to be cooked further in a sauce or soup, the bigger pieces will work just fine.


Greek Pasta With Tomatoes and White Beans

10 ounces penne pasta

2 (14.5-ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes

1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

10 ounces fresh spinach, washed and chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and beans in a large nonstick skillet. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Add spinach to the sauce; cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with feta.

Serves 4.


Easy meal: Greek pasta recipe 09/27/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 8:39pm]
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