Acini di pepe is a small, round, pasta perfect for soups and salads. This salad can be served hot, cold, or my favorite, room temperature. Try some different combinations of additions to make variations, such as roasted broccoli with toasted almonds; sun-dried tomatoes, wilted arugula, olives, and feta cheese; spinach; or scallions and feta cheese. Israeli couscous or orzo can be substituted for the acini de pepe.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil; cook the acini di pepe in the boiling water until cooked through yet firm to the bite, about 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
While the pasta cooks, melt the butter with the olive oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once the foam subsides, cook and stir the garlic and red pepper flakes in the butter mixture until the garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes; remove from heat and stir the olives in with the garlic mixture. Transfer to bowl with the pasta and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to serve.
Per Serving: 229 calories; protein 5.2g; carbohydrates 30g; fat 9.7g; cholesterol 10.2mg; sodium 187mg.