Scene: Evening with my family at a lovely coastal restaurant. I open my menu for the routine 30 second scan and find the only vegetarian options include salad. Scan, take two – what dishes could suffice minus said meat/fish? This usually affords a handful of options. Worst case, I cobble together random sides and entrée ingredients to create a special plate.
But on this particular summer night in Northern Michigan, I was in luck for the chef at Siren Hall was happy to work with me and the outcome was divine. This has only happened one other time to such pleasant results – at Emeril’s in New Orleans.
You should know, one of my favorite “hobbies” is to take inspiration from a restaurant menu and recreate it at home. Thus evolved Siren Hall pasta, one of my favorite meals not only because because it’s delicious, but because of the memories from that beautiful summer evening on the shores of Lake Michigan.
INGREDIENTS (serves 1-2)
1-2 c Barilla Plus pasta, any shape, uncooked
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 stalks broccolini, cut in 1″ pieces
1 T capers
10 kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Start water to boil in a pot for the pasta. Meanwhile, press garlic, chop olives, and cut broccolini in 1″ pieces.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed (approx 11 minutes). Drain and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, heat oil and garlic on medium low heat in a nonstick pan for 5 minutes to let the garlic flavor infuse the oil.
Add the capers and olives to the garlic and continue to simmer at a low heat.
Steam broccolini for a minute or two in boiling water and drain (optional, depending on how crunchy you like it). Then add the broccolini and salt/pepper (note: the capers and olives may be salty enough so be careful not to overdo) to the pan and turn up the heat to medium high. Sauté for several minutes.
Add pasta and toss. Sauté for another few minutes. The longer you sauté, the chewier the pasta becomes.
Salute! (Would also be delish with grated cheese if you’re into that kind of thing.)