Gemelli with sungold tomatoes, beans & olives: 63 cents/serving

We had our first harvest of sungold tomatoes this week, and as difficult as it was for me to refrain from eating them right off the plant (although I admit there may have been a few that “fell”), I managed to accumulate enough to make this pasta dish. It’s a light, quick, cheap, and filling warm-weather meal, especially with the beans, and it can, of course, be made with any variety of cherry or grape tomato. I also used fresh oregano, but I didn’t like it all that much with the olives, so I’m recommending you use basil.

Original recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. As below it makes 4 servings.

• 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (garden): $0
• 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed: 69 cents
• 8 oz. gemelli or other pasta: 50 cents
• 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock: 14 cents
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving: 60 cents
• 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives: 30 cents
• 1/2 cup chopped basil (garden?): $0
• 2 T olive oil: 12 cents
• Lemon juice to taste: 15 cents
TOTAL: $2.50/4 = 63 cents/serving

Cook the pasta by the absorption method in a large skillet or sauté pan: Combine the chicken or vegetable stock with 2 cups water and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and cook, stirring often, until the pasta has absorbed all the liquid and is tender but al dente. Add more liquid if necessary.

Stir in the tomatoes, beans, and olives and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, basil, and oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve with additional cheese, if desired. (And a garden salad!)

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