When my husband and I were first married, we loved to cook together. Friday nights were our “date nights” and we’d spend our evening cooking and catching up.
After work, we’d meet at the grocery before heading home to pick up the ingredients for our “date night dinner”. Although we were both new at cooking, we weren’t afraid to experiment with different flavors and combinations. We loved the salty taste of kalamata olives and the tangy flavor of sun-dried tomatoes so incorporating them in a pasta dish was an easy choice for us. Pasta dishes are simple dishes and simple was what we wanted.
We called our little recipe, Mediterranean Pasta – a recipe made with simple ingredients yet so full of flavor. Penne pasta mixed with chopped garlic sauteéd in olive oil, then tossed with kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, peperoncini, feta and parmesan cheese – a rich combination of flavors and so easy to put together. It was our favorite.
Over the years, it’s become a tradition for us to make our Mediterranean Pasta on the weekend before Christmas. It’s a holiday recipe that my husband and I look forward to making every year. We pick an evening when our kids (who are all much older now) are out with friends or asleep upstairs and we wrap their Christmas presents together. We listen to music, make our dinner, enjoy each other’s company along with a great glass of wine then we wrap presents until we’re done.
We also love to make this pasta dish when family and friends visit for the holidays because it’s festive and easy to make! When your house is full of company, it’s important to have an easy holiday recipe on hand so you aren’t spending time away from your guests in the kitchen. It’s always a hit!
What makes Mediterranean Pasta so special?
So many things, but first I’ll start with the kalamata olives. Kalamata olives are also known as “Greek Olives”and they are a key element of this dish.
The sun-dried tomatoes are a flavorful addition to the pasta. They add a bright red color and a burst of flavor. They’re absolutely perfect in the pasta. We also love the crisp golden pepperoncini which brings a mild heat to the dish and the feta cheese adds the perfect salty touch.
Here’s how simply it comes together…
Cook the pasta and set it aside. In a little olive oil, sauté chopped garlic.
Add the kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and peperoncini to the pan to warm and let the flavors mix and come together.
Pour all of the ingredients from the pan into the pasta along with an additional tablespoon of olive oil and mix well.
Stir in the feta and the parmesan cheeses.
Easy and delicious!
I find it so interesting how certain foods or meals can bring back a particular memory. What are your favorite holiday memories?
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup Mezzetta Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives
- 1 cup Mezzetta Julienne Cut Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes
- 1 cup Mezzetta Golden Greek Sliced Peperoncini
- 1 cup parmesan cheese , freshly grated
- 6 ounces feta cheese , crumbled
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Remove from heat, drain and return pasta to the pot. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to keep the pasta from drying out. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and the peperoncini and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour contents directly into the pot with the pasta. Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil and stir well.
- Gently mix in the parmesan and feta.
- Serve immediately.
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