Staples: Mediterranean Pasta

We sometimes like to go to the Troy farmer's market without a preconceived notion of what we'd like to prepare for dinner, because sometimes the available ingredients will suggest a meal themselves.   A couple weeks ago, we got some lemon pepper fettuccine from Flour City Pasta, thinking it would come in handy later that week.   But when we sampled and were then compelled to purchase some remarkably good feta from Danascara Cheese, a meal immediately suggested itself: a Mediterranean pasta dish. I've been making variations of this since learning a basic recipe from my mother.

Since we had a frozen chicken breast we started with that, although it works very well as a vegetarian recipe as well. After putting the pasta water on, saute the chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, in a little olive oil. Add some red pepper flakes. After the chicken is browned, add some minced garlic, shallot, or if you're me both. Saute for 30 seconds to a minute, then add a small can of Italian tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes if they're in season.) Let the sauce simmer. About two minutes before the pasta is ready, put in a can of unmarinated artichoke hearts and the juice of 1-2 lemons. Add the pasta when it's ready, and crumble feta cheese over the top. Serve it with a green salad and you've got a terrific meal that can be done on a weeknight.

And definitely try the feta from Danascara Cheese next time you're at the Troy farmer's market, it's terrific.


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