Mediterranean Pasta

Some friends took me out to lunch for my birthday earlier this week and I had a fantastic Mediterranean Pasta dish. It had all my favorite ingredients: spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes and pine nuts! I was determined to try to make it for my husband.

Tonight I looked up the menu description online and decided to take my best stab at replicating the recipe. I also had help from another Mediterranean Pasta recipe I found on Wellplated.com. I made some modifications and swapped out a few ingredients. My husband loved it and rated it 5 stars – even without the feta cheese! It only took about 25 minutes to prepare and serves up to 4 people. This is so easy and the savory flavor would go well with a nice sweet wine.

Mediterranean Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz (or half a box) of penne pasta (a little more if serving 4)
  • 4 cloves of garlic – minced (about 2 tsp)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (or 1/4 cup water if avoiding oil)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes – cut in half
  • 1 can or (14 oz) jar quartered artichoke hearts (I use water-packed)
  • 1 can whole pitted black olives (6 oz) – drained and sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • A pinch (about 1/8 tsp) of red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz of sliced of baby bella mushrooms (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups of baby spinach (stems removed)
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes – chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup feta or parmesan cheese (omit if vegan)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley – or fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp. of salt (opt.). Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
  2. While water boils and pasta cooks, prep vegetables and remaining ingredients: mince garlic, cut cherry tomatoes in half, drain and roughly chop the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil (or 1/4 cup water if not using oil) over medium high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, the 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Sauté, stirring frequently unit the garlic is fragrant and the tomatoes begin to break down and release some juices into the oil, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat. Add the artichokes, olives if using, and spinach. Dried the lemon juice over the pasta. Continue tossing and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the mixture is warmed through. If pasta seems too dry, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Remove from heat and sprinkle with feta (or grated Parmesan), pine nuts and parsley or basil.

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