From The Fresh & Green Table: Delicious Ideas for Bringing Vegetables Into Every Meal by Susie Middleton (Chronicle Books, 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Susie Middleton. Photographs copyright © 2012 by Annabelle Breakey. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 12 min
Total time: 22 min
Yield: 5 or 6 servings
I once watched 200 lb/90 kg of Greek pasta salad fly out the door of a take-out market one Fourth of July weekend. It was a popular dish we made, and it always sold well, but that blew me away! These days, I make a quick and colorful Greek pasta that isn't exactly a salad: I like to toss the warm pasta with the marinated vegetables and fresh spinach to make a more sophisticated room-temperature pasta dish. But it does have all the bright flavors of a great Greek salad, including lemon, olives, garlic, fresh oregano, red onions, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese.
Everything goes in raw except the pasta, so the timing is easy: Prep ahead, then cook the pasta when you're ready to eat. For fun, add a few tangy pepperoncini. You don't have to include them but they add a nice spark. (Buy them whole, not sliced.)
This pasta is perfect for a summer supper and is plenty filling for vegetarians. But it would be lovely with grilled swordfish or shrimp skewers, too.
1/4 cup/60 ml mild extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon black olive tapenade
1 teaspoon honey
Freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion (about 4 ounces/115 g), cut lengthwise into very thin slices
One 14-ounce/400-g can artichoke hearts, drained and each heart cut lengthwise into 4 or 6 pieces
8 ounces/225 g small grape tomatoes, halved (about 1-3/4 cups)
1/2 cup/85 g pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
4 ounces/115 g good-quality creamy feta cheese (I like French Valbreso), crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
8 ounces/225 g dried gemelli or other curly pasta
4 ounces/115 g baby spinach leaves (about 5 cups)
1/3 cup/35 g chopped toasted walnuts
12 to 16 small whole pepperoncini, drained (about 2 ounces/55 g)
1. In a large, wide mixing bowl, whisk or stir together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon zest, tapenade, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Add the red onion, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, olives, feta, and 1 tablespoon of the oregano and toss well. Let the mixture sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the gemelli and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Drain well in a colander but do not rinse. Transfer the warm pasta to the mixing bowl with the dressing and vegetables and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the spinach leaves, the remaining 1 tablespoon of oregano, the toasted walnuts, and the pepperoncini and toss well. (The feta will loosen up and coat the pasta.) Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired. (You can also let the tossed pasta sit for a few minutes, stir again, and taste.)
3. Serve right away.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. And, when you donate, you'll become a member of The Splendid Table Co-op. It's a community of like-minded individuals who love good food, good conversation and kitchen companionship. Splendid Table Co-op members will get exclusive content each month and have special opportunities for connecting with The Splendid Table team.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table and you'll be welcomed into The Splendid Table Co-op.