This is one of the first eating things I learned to make myself. If you can make a stir-fry, you can make this dish–it’s the same thing. I have made several variations and others have done the same. Tyler Florence’s people made a lush, cream sauce version. Canadian Living describes a light, low-budget version. Here is a library of other recipes. One can make it as healthy/unhealthy and cheap/expensive as they wish. The possibilities are finite yet numerous.
Here is a version of mine. I like it garlicky, spicy, and on the unhealthy side.
Hearty, Spicy, Mediterranean Pasta
Inspired by a Greek-Italian restaurant I used to frequent that no longer carries their version of the dish, merrrrr.
Time: 30 minutes
- 300 g dry pasta. For this I like penne or rotini.
- 100 g pepperoni/salami/smoked sausage, sliced
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (if needed)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 basket grape tomatoes, cut in half length-wise
- 1 can pitted black olives, drained and cut in half length-wise
- 1 jar marinaded artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fistful of fresh basil, chiffonaded if you’re fancy, with a few leaves kept whole for garnishing (even fancier!)
- 50-100 g diced feta
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, fry up the high-nitrate meat of your choice. You probably won’t need oil because it’s also so high in fat that it will release plenty of its own lubricant. Fry the meat, with cayenne, until it’s browned and tasty on all sides. Then set aside on a paper towel.
- In a big pot of salted water, start to boil pasta according to package directions to a few minutes shy of el dente.
- Still over medium-high heat, add olive oil to the pan. If you’re using non-stick you might not need it.
- Fry the onions and stir frequently until just transluscent, 2-3 minutes. Then add garlic, chili, and oregano, frying for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, olives, and artichoke hearts then continue to stir and fry for 2-3 more minutes. (In hindsight I would have added the tomatoes close to the end; I overcooked them here.) Return the browned meat to the pan.
- Deglaze with wine. Continue to stir and cook for 3-5 min to let some of the alcohol boil off.
- In an ideal situation, your pasta will be cooking and nearing completion at this point. From the pot, transfer 1/4 to 1/2 cup or so of the starchy, boiling pasta water to the skillet. This will add volume to the white wine sauce and also thicken it.
- Drain the pasta and, without rinsing, add the pasta to the skillet of meat and veggies to finish cooking. Fold over heat for 2-3 more minutes until pasta is well-coated with the clear sauce. Add pepper, to taste, and the basil. The ingredients are salty enough for me so I didn’t add any extra.
- Serve topped with feta cheese. Goes nicely with a glass of white or red and a green salad.