Three Meals you can Build Around Olives 

Olives are a great food that tend to get a bad rap sometimes. There are many people who do not like them (despite there being hundreds of different types that they haven’t even tried), but let’s face it: the health benefits of olives simply cannot be denied. For one thing, they do an outstanding job of protecting against skin cancer along with colon and breast cancer. See? They’re already starting to look better, aren’t they? They also contain monounsaturated fatty acids, along with oleic acid, both of which have been proven to reduce excessive inflammation. The compounds work side by wage war on free radicals within your cells.

Did you know that olive oil is good for the heart? Containing biophenols, it is capable of suppressing bad cholesterol, also known as LDL, and is also key in reducing blood pressure. Finally, olives are known to reduce chronic pain from diseases like arthritis. Adding a bowl of olives to your daily routine can be very beneficial, and may even go so far as to save your life. They will certainly serve to make your quality of life better, especially if you deal with any of the above issues.

The vegetable that so many see as just a condiment, or perhaps something to be ignored, is one of nature’s greatest gifts to us, and quite frankly, we think that it should be used everywhere. You already know that they can be used on salads, and you probably order them with your pizza, but what you might not now is that they can be used to make a number of different meals. Let’s cover three of them below and you’ll be on your way to becoming a gourmet olive chef.

Meals you can Build Around Olives 

The Olive Chicken Dish

Chicken is without a doubt the harbinger of the most popular meals on the planet, but you can make it even more interesting by creating an olive marinade. All you need is:

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning (your choice)

After slicing the olives, you can use these ingredients to create a marinade, and then coat your chicken thighs (or breasts if you would rather) before placing them in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. If you want to spice it up a little, feel free to serve with lemon slices.

The Tart Dish

This is a quick dish and a great snack for summer time. You will need:

  • Puff Pastry Tray
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Roasted Red Peppers

You will start by cutting circles from the sheet of puff pastry, as many as you need. Cover it with the ingredients, and top with olives. Add any other ingredients you want, we strongly recommend anchovy fillets, and then cook in the oven for fifteen minutes at 350 degrees.

Olive Stuffed Tomatoes

This can be used as either an appetizer, or simply as a light lunch. You just need to scoop out a few tomatoes and stuff them with cooked rice, minced garlic, chopped tomato, herbs, lemon juice, and of course, green olives. Bake in the oven for five minutes at 350 degrees and serve.

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Purely Italian Puttanesca Sauce

Purely Italian Puttanesca Sauce

How to Make Your Own Italian Puttanesca

If you are searching for an authentic Italian staple to serve with your pasta and a glass of red wine, look no further than a Puttanesca sauce, vaguely similar but infinitely more flavorful than the Americanized red pasta sauce that can be found on any grocery store aisle. Although some variation may be allowed for your Puttanesca, a purely Italian one at the least will be a little salty and very fragrant. The salt will come from the capers and olives; the bold fragrance will come from the mounds of garlic used. As with any good Italian red sauce, crushed tomatoes are a must. Put all these together and you have a “Sugo” (Italian for “sauce”) that is rumored to have been created by a 1950's era Italian restaurant owner after he didn't have enough ingredients to make a proper sauce for some of his late-comers.

His name was Sandro Petti, and his first response to their request for a late meal was to explain that he was out of ingredients and then to send the crowd on their way. The hungry group simply didn't take “no” for an answer and responded, “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi” roughly translated, “Make any kind of garbage”. So, considering the low expectation set by his customers, Petti took the remaining ingredients in his kitchen- four tomatoes, two olives and some capers- and created a sauce that remained on his menu and can now be found on the menus of many all over the world today.

How can you create a puttanesca sugo? There are several variations of the founder's recipe to be considered. A basic sauce can be made by using the traditional ingredients that Petti used and adding any desired twist. Anchovies, for example, are a popular choice for an added ingredient. Onions, different types of cheeses and chili peppers are also brilliant options. Start, as with any sauce, heating up some oil in a pan. Add some garlic and then throw in your twist – perhaps red pepper flakes for kick, as well as some anchovies - mashing them all together with a wooden spoon.

You want to cook your ingredients until the garlic is fragrant, which should take only a couple of minutes. Add whole tomatoes to your sauce, crushing them up with your hands before dropping them in your sauce and breaking them up further with your spoon. Stir in capers and if you'd like, some olives. Bring it all to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer, and then cover it. Let the sauce sit for 10-15 minutes, which should thicken it nicely. Serve traditionally with spaghetti noodles, and enjoy a Purely Italian Puttanesca Sauce!