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SUN DRIED TOMATOES WITH FETA CHEESE PASTA SAUCE

SUN DRIED TOMATOES

Preparation - Easy - 20 to 30 minutes
Serves 4

Although not found in traditional Italian cooking (there is no equivalent to the Greek feta cheese in Italy) this tasty dish has a real Mediterranean flavor.

1 cup dried tomatoes, cut into narrow strips (you can use kitchen scissors)
1 - 2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled and slivered
12 ripe, black olives, pitted and sliced in half, or a similar amount of canned, ripe olives
3 T shredded, fresh basil or 1 T dried basil leaves OR 1 t oregano or thyme, according to taste
12 ounces fettucine, farfalle or similar broad, dry pasta
1 cup crumbled or diced feta cheese

IF the sun dried tomatoes are packed in oil, they can be cut into narrow strips and go directly into the sauce. If they are dry, cut them in strips, put them in a separate bowl and cover with boiling water; let sit 5 - 10 minutes until soft.

SET the salted pasta water to boil. When it boils, throw in your pasta.

HEAT oil in a pan large enough to hold the sauce and the pasta. Add garlic and saute on medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until golden.

DRAIN tomatoes.

ADD tomatoes, olives and basil/oregano/thyme to pan; cook on medium heat, stirring gently until well mixed. Turn heat off, or to very low, until pasta is ready.

WHEN your pasta is cooked, drain well. Do *not* blanch with cold water.

WITH pan still on heat, add the hot, drained pasta, then the cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon just until thoroughly blended.

SERVE immediately in the pan, or in a heated serving bowl.

TIP: save a bit of the water from soaking the tomatoes or cooking the pasta in case the dish is too dry for your taste.

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