Basically Lovely.

I used to believe, quite staunchly, that recipes were better when you toiled over them for a good while, that if you were not a slave to the kitchen- pouring over the recipes, dirtying up at least a dozen pans, making a trek to a few different specialty shops for some exotic ingredients – then the dish was unimpressive. Fair for a weeknight dinner, but nothing to be swooned over. Independently having to foot a grocery bill, a few Thanksgivings under my belt and pure revelation had me realize that this simply is not the case. Simplicity allows key and seasonal ingredients to shine. When you keep things basic, you can remain calm and actually enjoy the act of preparing food. A flustered cook is one likely to mis-step in the kitchen. Attempting to juggle too many tasks is when gnocchi boils too long, the tops of vegetables char under the broiler or the amount of salt is mistakenly doubled. There have been times when I have to remind myself – cooking is a pleasure and the kitchen is where I want to decompress. The recipe below is no frills, and it is as pleasurable to make as it is to eat. Simple, tasty and, arguably, wholesome

Penne Pasta with Tomatoes
Serves 4

6-oz penne
5 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into
½- inch pieces
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup ripe olives, halved (preferably kalamata)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat a large pot of salted water to boil for the penne, cook until al dente. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, basil, olives, garlic, olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss gently. Sprinkle with feta.

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