Rigatoni, Kalamata Olives, Peppers, Mushrooms, Onions, Capers
Equally good to the flavor of Kalamata olives served alongside a nice cheese board is using these tart, small, tangy, brown black shaped delicacies in cooking.
The Kalamata olive, holds a distinction of its own as a PDO, a European Union product label indicating a singular specialty of a designated area.
Given this stature, it is surprising to me how many markets on the product pricing signs spell Kalamata with a ‘C’ Calamata. I might otherwise think that perhaps we are getting a variation of the actual Kalamata from Greece but then I also see the fish Tilapia, spelled Talapia so I will take it as phonetics mix-up, people making signs sounding out words as verbalized.
Spelling and syntax can be a funny thing.
Philadelphia ‘speak’ when I was growing up often included adding extra syllables into words. If you have ever seen the movie Rocky filmed in Philadelphia then you know what I mean.
The supermarket called Acme was most commonly called The “Ak-A-Me’.
A word of which I am guilty and met with uproarious teasing each winter by my daughters is the word Glove. I say the old Philadelphia version, ‘Ga-Love’. I try to remember, but it just rolls off my tongue like water running out of a spilled glass.
Conversely, when I moved back to Philadelphia after living in Arizona a number of years, I was also met with uproarious teasing for correctly pronouncing the word ‘water’. In Philadelphia the word is pronounced ‘woiter’ rather than waater. I’ve managed to merge the two, though I always left the ‘Pop’ in Arizona, where along the East Coast, it is strictly ‘soda’.
Grown in the Kalamata area of Greece, before gracing the olive bars of markets and specialty stores, the Kalamata is actually a purple color and only turns the dark brown- black tint through the brining method.
Years back Kalamata olives were not readily available in most markets, and when they were, they always contained the large size pit in the center of the meaty exterior. Today seedless Kalamata olives are easily obtained making them accessible to use and work well with many types of International flavors and styles of menus.
One of my favorite easy and quick dishes using Kalamata Olives is with Rigatoni Pasta tossed into simmering red tomato sauce with mixed sweet peppers, mushrooms, red onions, capers, and chicken.
This dish is very easy and flexible, it also works well if you prefer to omit the chicken though I do like the added flavor and texture the chicken provides. The capers and peppers mixture combined into the sauce provide a nice depth of flavor with the red wine addition.
Topped with some fresh grated Parmesan, Rigatoni, Kalamata Olives, Peppers, Mushrooms, Onions, Capers, Chicken and Red Sauce no matter how the Kalamata ingredient is spelled or pronounced is no matter. It makes a perfect tasty dish on any week night dinner to a fun gathering among friends.
- 1 Pound Box Rigatoni
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 and 1 additional tablespoons
- 1 Red, Green, and Yellow Pepper, cored, pith and seeds removed, cut one inch pieces
- 8 ounces fresh button mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
- 1-2 red onions, peeled, quartered, halved, then halved again to make crescent shape slices
- 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
- 1 cup Kalamata olives, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 can tomato paste, plus an equal amount of water once the paste is emptied
- 1/2- 1 cup red wine
- 24 ounce jar of tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- a couple pinches cracked black pepper
- fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Add olive oil to a medium- size nonstick sauté pan, sauté together the pieces of red, green, and yellow peppers, the quartered mushrooms, and red onion, until softened, around five minutes, stir in capers.
- Transfer vegetable mixture to a bowl. Wipe out the sauté pan, add two tablespoons olive oil and sauté the chicken pieces on both sides until golden colored, transfer to a platter
- Into a large cast iron enameled pot, add in two tablespoons olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pot
- On very, very low heat, cook chopped garlic for a minute then stir in the tomato paste along with the water filling the emptied tomato paste can
- Sprinkle in the garlic powder and oregano, stir, pour in the red wine, increase the heat to medium and cook until red wine reduces to half
- Add in the pepper mixture and browned chicken pieces, stir together
- Pour in the jar of tomato sauce and stir throughout, heat mixture until hot, reduce to a simmer, then add in the chopped Kalamata olives, stirring through and continuing to simmer on the lowest heat around twenty minutes until all of the flavors have developed together.
- Meanwhile cook Rigatoni in salted boiling water until el dente, reserve a cup of the pasta water if needed to thin the final dish, then drain and stir into sauce mixture, stir constantly for one or two minutes until ingredients mix thoroughly together
- Stir in salt and pepper, check seasoning, adjust to taste
- Transfer to a serving platter and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, serve steaming hot