If you love your veggies (or just wish you did), then you are going to love Susie Middleton’s newest cookbook, The Fresh & Green Table. In a followup to her 2010 success, Fast, Fresh & Green, Middleton shows home cooks, veggie lovers, and the veggie weary alike how to incorporate more of their garden- or farmers market- bounty into every meal. From egg dishes to soups & salads to pizza, Susie offers something for everyone. And as Editor-in-Large for Fine Cooking magazine, Middleton not only serves up delicious recipes, but a feast of techniques, strategies, and instruction as well. A must-have for every kitchen!
This recipe for Greek Spinach-Salad Pasta just a sample of what Susie brings to the table…
Greek Spinach-Salad Pasta with Feta, Olives, Artichokes, Tomatoes & Pepperoncini
I once watched a couple hundred pounds 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.
For more information on Susie and her kitchen musings, hop over to SixBurnerSue.com