About a decade ago, my parents took a trip to New York, New York! They dined at an Italian restaurant, the name of which neither one of them remembers. My mom created the following family favorite based on the memory of a dish she had at that restaurant.
1 lb penne pasta
1/4 c olive oil
6 cloves of garlic (I use 8 bc I'm an addict)
1 t red pepper flakes (or to taste - I use 1T bc I like me some spice)
1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted and minced (the unpitted ones are tastier)
1 28oz can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/4 c fresh chopped parsley
1 c fresh chopped basil
8 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped
Heat the oil in a pan on low heat. When it is hot (the oil will be more liquidy and move around very easily), add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Let them mingle for about five minutes. This flavors the oil, a significant ingredient in this delicious pasta.
Add the olives to the party. Let everyone dance for a few minutes. Be sure to stir a bit to shake up the dance floor.
This is a great time to get that water boiling (don't forget to salt!).
Back to the sauce. Add the tomatoes. Increase the heat to medium-low. Add the salt. The salt helps to breakdown the tomatoes into sauce. Add the parsley. If the sauce sticks to the bottom when you stir, lower the heat. If the sauce isn't bubbling increase the heat. Liquid will evaporate to the point that there may be bare spots of your pan showing. Don't fret! There will be plenty of sauce . . .