Waiting for the Olives to Ripen, and a Recipe: Malfadine with Goat Cheese, Olive, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Waiting for the olives to ripen—the countdown begins:

Of course, different varieties ripen at different times and what we strive for is a mix. At a certain point, we have to decide that we’re going to start picking, and we keep picking until all the olives are picked (try saying that fast three times). Here are a couple of photos I took this morning, the first with still-green olives and the second with olives changing color:

And while we’re waiting, next week, on September 26 we’ll be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Hollywood premiere of Under the Tuscan Sun. It’s been a great enjoyment to see that movie become a cult classic. The premiere was a lot of fun and watching the movie being made was fun too. I’ll send a few photos in coming newsletters.

Here’s what I’m making next Tuesday: Malfadine with Goat Cheese, Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, from Pasta Veloce: Irresistibly Fast Recipes from Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes and Susan Wyler.

Blending cheese, salty olives, and savory sun-dried tomatoes, rich with umami, all spiked with garlic, fragrant rosemary, and a generous amount of cracked black pepper produces a richly flavorful pasta sauce. The combination of goat cheese and mild cream cheese makes this recipe feel both rich and light at the same time. Because the olives and sun-dried tomatoes as well as the pasta water are all salty, no extra salt is added to the sauce.

Serves 4 to 6 
8 ounces (225 g) malfadine
4 ounces (115 g) fresh white goat cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (115 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1/2 cup (80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup (80 g) pitted black Kalamata, halved
1/3 cup (40 g) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup (240 ml) of the cooking water; drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, rosemary, garlic, and pepper. Whirl until well blended. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil through the feed tube. Add the olives and sun-dried tomatoes and pulse until chopped.
Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in along with ½ cup (120 ml) of the reserved cooking water. Add the goat cheese mixture and toss over medium heat until just warmed through, adding as much of the remaining cooking water as needed to coat the pasta.

Photo by Steven Rothfeld