Salsa easily steps out of its dipping role Olive oil and vegetables add Italian accents.

Fast & fresh

November 08, 1995|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Simplicity and planning are the keys to serving tasty, satisfying meals in a busy household. All ingredients for the following favorite can be found in most pantries. A basic salsa can be quickly turned into an Italian pasta topper with some quick additions of vegetables, olives and basil. Still want to dip? Scoop out some pistachio ice cream to finish the meal.

Italian salsa on pasta

Serves 4

1 pound bowtie shaped pasta

1 1/4 cup salsa of choice

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup fresh shredded basil or 2 teaspoons dried

1 6-ounce can small pitted black olives, drained

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

1 medium carrot, shredded

3 tablespoons olive oil

3/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Put a large, covered pot of water on to boil. In a medium bowl, mix together the salsa, cherry tomatoes, basil and black olives. Reserve. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. During last 2 minutes of boiling, add zucchini and carrots. Drain pasta and vegetables in a colander, then return to pot. Add olive oil and toss. Add Italian salsa and toss. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Garlic herb bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 1-pound loaf Italian bread

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend

Halve the loaf lengthwise. Make crisscross cuts in bread to soak up oil and seasonings. Mix olive oil, garlic and herbs together and spoon over the cut interior of bread halves. Place bread on a sheet pan or heavy duty foil and place on rack 6 inches under broiler, watching carefully until just beginning to brown. Serve immediately.

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