Like the new (to me) concept of “arm parties“, and the treadmill desk I MacGyvered out of an old board, reusable shopping bag, duct tape, and sheer determination last weekend, today’s recipe of Pasta with Toasted Garlic, Dried Cranberries, Kale, Kalamata Olives & Feta is definitely filed under just crazy enough to work!
Not only is the wickedly-delicious combo of garlic-infused olive oil, dried cranberries, torn kale, sliced kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese tossed with spaghetti just crazy enough to work, it is without a doubt one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had – EVER.
The ingenious recipe comes from Maria @ Two Peas and Their Pod, via her sister-in-law, and the second I saw it, I knew I had to have it. A gathering of ingredients as unique as this just had to be good.
And it was. No sooner than two minutes after snapping these pics I slurped down every last noodle on my plate, perhaps even going so far as to licking it clean, then, with mouth still watering, I had to restrain myself from eating every last sweet and salty bite left in the skillet.
Instead, like a lady, I waited an hour then re-heated the leftovers in the microwave.
If you are looking for something new and absolutely delicious to add to your weekly rotation, make it this “Crazy Pasta”, as Maria calls it. Sauteed in one skillet, and made with fridge and pantry staples to boot, I cannot wait to have this again!
Start the Pasta with Toasted Garlic, Dried Cranberries, Kale, Kalamata Olives & Feta by assembling all your ingredients. This skillet supper cooks quickly, so you’ll want to have everything chopped and ready to go before turning on the heat.
First heat 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet, then add 6 cloves sliced garlic and let them toast in the oil until they’re just barely turning golden brown. Any darker, and they’ll start to taste bitter. Remove the slices to a plate and set them aside.
Not only does this step produce the to-die-for pasta topping of toasted garlic, but it also infuses the oil, and all subsequent ingredients cooked in it, with an unbelievable garlic flavor.
To the garlic infused oil, add 1/2 minced red onion, season with salt & pepper, then saute for 3 minutes until the onions are golden brown and tender, then add 1/4 cup dried cranberries. The cranberries kind of melt into the olive oil and provide a PERFECTLY sweet background flavor in this pasta dish.
Next add 4 cups torn kale, as well as a bit more salt & pepper. It’s always important to season each layer of ingredients when cooking!
BTW, I used this pre-torn kale from Trader Joe’s since they didn’t have any whole bunches. It’s very convenient, but just try and remove any stemmy pieces, as they don’t really get tender as they cook.
Toss the kale to coat in the oil, then add 1/4 cup water to the skillet, pop a lid on top, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the kale is tender.
Meanwhile, cook 4oz spaghetti in a big pot of salted, boiling water until it’s al dente. No need to drain, even (you’ll see!)
To the cooked kale and cranberries, add 1/4 cup sliced and pitted kalamata olives. The olives add an awesome, salty bite to the pasta that I just love.
Finally, transfer the cooked spaghetti by way of tongs to the skillet, then toss everything together, adding up to 1/4 cup pasta cooking water to create a little sauce.
Divide the pasta between two plates, top with the toasted garlic slices and a wee bit of crumbled feta cheese, then devour!
Pasta with Toasted Garlic, Dried Cranberries, Kale,
Kalamata Olives & Feta
Serves 2 (recipe can be easily doubled)
Barely adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, minced
salt & pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries
4 cups torn kale
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives
2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic slices then cook, stirring near constantly, until slices are pale golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Turn heat down to medium then add red onion. Season with salt and pepper then cook until golden-brown and tender, about 3 minutes. Add cranberries and kale, season with more salt and pepper, then add water, place a lid on top of the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until kale is tender.
- Add spaghetti to a large pot of salted, boiling water then cook until al dente.
- Add kalamata olives to cooked kale and cranberry mixture. Transfer cooked spaghetti to skillet then toss to combine all ingredients. Add up to 1/4 cup pasta cooking water if needed. Divide between two plates then top with 1 Tablespoon feta cheese and half the cooked garlic slices each.
Banish any skeptical thoughts you may have about this dish, and just start cookin’! While you can pick out each individual ingredient in the pasta if you try, what I really like about this dish is the way that everything kind of melts and melds together in each, over-the-top bite.
Can you tell I liked this? A lot?! Thanks Maria!
Oh, right, about that treadmill desk…
Well, you see, I am the world’s slowest writer so between editing pictures and writing my actual blog post each day, I sometimes find myself sitting and working for three or more hours at a time without moving. Unacceptable!
I’ve been lusting after a treadmill desk – a treadmill with a large work surface attached – to remedy the situation for years, but am unwilling to shell out $1,300 to get one, so I did the next best thing and made one myself!
I found a random board in our basement then secured it to the rails of the treadmill with strips of reusable grocery bags that I cut out and reinforced with duct tape, which I then duct taped together.
VOILA – homemade treadmill desk! Works like a charm, and even comes with a drink holder.
Of course I don’t walk on it for three hours straight, and top out at 1.3mph, but hey - it’s better than nothing!