Mediterranean pasta is just the thing for all those spring flavors you crave. Slices of tomato, whole olives, white wine, feta, and handfuls of peas and arugula—a bowlful will leave you happily satiated.
This main has a fresh, springy, Mediterranean flavor profile: a spectrum of tastes I rely on in my everyday kitchen for a dish that doesn’t swerve. Slicked with lustrous olive oil, polka dotted with midnight purple kalamata olives, strewn with wisps of arugula, and backed by the Pantry Prince, dried oregano, the tendrils of pasta practically beg to be twirled into a plump reel on your fork.–Allison Day
- 1 pound gluten-free spaghetti or linguine, or whole grain spaghetti or linguine of choice
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water*
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound yellow or red tomatoes sliced into wedges
- 5 ounces arugula (5 to 7 cups)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen, defrosted green peas
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives left whole or halved
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- To the same large pot over medium-high heat, add the wine, oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.☞TESTER TIP: If you’ve got some fresh basil on hand, skip the oregano and stir in the basil just before serving.
- Reduce the heat to medium, return the cooked and drained pasta to the pot, and toss to combine. If desired, loosen the sauce with some or all of the reserved pasta cooking water.
- Toss in the tomatoes, arugula, peas, and olives and cook until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Divvy the pasta among bowls and top with feta. Devour.
*Why should I reserve some pasta water when cooking pasta?You may have noticed in many pasta recipes that you're instructed to reserve some of the water you cooked your pasta in. This isn't just to make things more difficult for the home cook, but it's actually to make things easier. This extra-starchy water is the key to making restaurant-worthy sauces that are smooth and cling to your noodles. It also adds a little extra moisture, if your sauce feels a little dry, without watering anything down. This even works if you're not using homemade sauce—pasta water works wonders to make any sauce bind to your pasta.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've ever made pasta dishes that weren't just plain old spaghetti and tomato-based meat sauce, so the chance to try something new was both exhilarating and terrifying. I actually would have breezed right by it had I not decided to start letting my husband pick the recipes I test each month--and the man had feta on the brain and wouldn't take no for an answer.
Boy, was this one a winner in every way imaginable. First, it took WAY less time than I thought, despite the length of the ingredient list. In 7 minutes I had the pasta boiling, I pre-measured everything and had it all laid out on the counter ready to go--which is to say, ready to toss into the pot before giving it all a quick mix and adding the drained pasta back in. There was nothing remotely complicated about this recipe for Mediterranean pasta and it came out like something I'd order in a little Italian cafe.
One change we made on our second helpings that we thought elevated it just a little--we both put a little more feta cheese on top (a mere ounce per serving seemed way too little for cheeseheads like us).
Fresh tomatoes, spicy arugula, briny olives and creamy cheese meld into the perfect sauce for a light summery pasta dinner that comes together in a breeze, leaving more time for those outdoor activities. The recipe for Mediterranean pasta screams for the freshest ingredients possible, but if, like me, you cut into your tomatoes to find a hard, mealy imposter of a garden fresh perfectly ripened tomato, just toss them in with the wine and oil and give them a quick sauté to break them down a bit.
I used Bonta D’Italiano gluten free pasta and the ½ cup reserved pasta cooking was the exact amount to bring the sauce together. Next time I might add some cooked shrimp or chicken just to satisfy the hungry men in the family.
Pasta is always a winner in my house and this recipe for Mediterranean pasta was no exception. Having all the ingredients prepped/measured made pulling this together really quick and easy - great for when you need to get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. My daughter's immediate reaction after her first bite was 'Yum, this is so fresh!'
You have to trust the ingredients and method on this one. When I was making the sauce, I thought there would be no way that it would be enough to coat the pasta and vegetables but the addition of the full 1/2 cup of pasta water was exactly what it needed. While adding the tomatoes, arugula, peas and olives, I actually said out loud 'this is just weird'. The idea of adding wedged tomatoes seemed clunky and would be awkward to eat. But because I cut mine fairly thin, they broke down just enough to make twirling with the pasta easy. I let it cook with the pasta 4-5 minutes to make sure the arugula was wilted to my liking. I can definitely see how fresh basil would be a nice addition.
The brininess of the olives was exactly what is needed to play against the tomatoes and arugula. Makes 4 generous servings
When I presented my salad-hating 7-year-old with a dish of Mediterranean pasta, he immediately complained, "Mom, you said pasta. This is a salad!". Three minutes later, he was licking the bowl clean. It was that good. Do use the best, ripest tomatoes you can find—they add so much to the dish!
This Mediterranean pasta is a great vegetarian dish for summer dining. We used a whole grain linguini but I'm sure a gluten-free pasta would work just as well. The vegetables and herbs melded perfectly and the crumbled feta very nicely completed the Greek flavors of the dish. We used fresh basil rather than dried oregano and it clearly was the better choice, although a small amount of fresh oregano would also seem to work with this dish.
Originally published April 19, 2021