Healthy Mediterranean Pasta Recipes
Tuna Pasta with Olives & Artichokes
Here we toss grilled tuna with pasta, artichoke hearts, green olives and tomatoes. Grilling the tuna gives this ultra-fresh pasta dish a subtle smokiness. But if you're pressed for time, try canned tuna in place of the grilled fish.
Italian Mussels & Pasta
This combination of mussels with plenty of garlic, parsley, saffron and white wine was inspired by the Venetian soup zuppa de peoci, which is usually ladled over sliced crusty bread. Here we serve it over pasta. For a more elegant presentation you can remove the mussels from their shells before serving…but then again, who wants to be elegant? Enjoy!
Pasta alle Erbe
Lidia Bastianich's rustic pasta recipe from Umbria would typically be made with foraged greens, but certainly chard, spinach and common chicory are delicious in this dish. Collard, dandelion or mustard greens would be good too. (Adapted from Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy, Knopf, 2009.)
Penne alla Primavera
Penne tossed with spring vegetables, such as carrots, morel mushrooms, asparagus, peas and fava beans, along with loads of fresh herbs is a perfect example of Mario Batali's rustic approach to great-tasting Italian food. When both fava beans and morel mushrooms are in season, by all means use them in this recipe. But if you can't find either of those, substitute what looks best. Basic cremini mushrooms will work and frozen lima beans are a good option. Recipe adapted from Molto Gusto by Mario Batali and Mark Ladner (Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, 2010).
Eggplant & Chickpea Baked Pasta
Turn leftover Eggplant & Chickpea Stew into a comforting vegetarian baked-pasta dish. We love the taste of mint with the other Mediterranean flavors, but you can use parsley or basil if you prefer.
Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettuccine
Even sardine skeptics will enjoy this lemony pasta with crispy breadcrumbs. Substitute two 5- to 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna for the sardines if you prefer. If you are using tuna or can't find sardines packed in tomato sauce, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste in Step 4 with the lemon juice. Serve with a salad of bitter greens tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables
Toss a garlicky, Middle Eastern-inspired yogurt sauce with pasta, shrimp, asparagus, peas and red bell pepper for a fresh, satisfying summer meal. Serve with: Slices of cucumber and tomato tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.
Here we take basic lasagna ingredients--ricotta cheese, pasta and tomatoes--and skip the layering and long baking time to make a super-quick and satisfying meal for the whole family. To cut down on prep time, look for presliced mushrooms. For meat lovers, brown some crumbled turkey sausage along with the onions and garlic. Serve with: Steamed broccoli and whole-grain baguette.
Zucchini, Fennel & White Bean Pasta
Turn humble pasta and beans gourmet by adding roasted vegetables, fresh mint and tangy, salty aged goat cheese. When making a pasta dish with beans, you can use some of the bean-cooking liquid to give the sauce silky body and help it cling to the pasta. If you're using canned beans, use some of the pasta-cooking liquid or just water.
Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms
Sliced Brussels sprouts and mushrooms cook quickly and cling to the pasta in our fall version of pasta primavera. Look for presliced mushrooms to cut prep time. Serve with a tossed salad.
Creamy Scallop & Pea Fettuccine
This rich pasta dish is full of sweet seared scallops and plump peas. Low-fat milk and flour thicken the sauce, giving it creamy texture without the extra calories and fat found in traditional cream sauces. Serve with a small Caesar salad on the side.
Fusilli with Italian Sausage & Arugula
A whole teaspoon of black pepper along with a small amount of Italian turkey sausage deliver a piquant flavor without adding too much in the way of saturated fat and calories in this quick pasta dish. For maximum taste, use a high-quality cheese.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Chickpeas
The assertive flavor of broccoli rabe and rosemary are paired with sturdy chickpeas in this satisfying pasta dish. When buying broccoli rabe, check to make sure the bottoms of the stems are relatively tight, green and moist. If the broccoli rabe at your store is past its prime--or if you prefer a milder taste--use broccolini or regular broccoli instead. Garnish with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Pancetta & Wilted Watercress
We use just a touch of pancetta--cured Italian-style bacon--to balance the sweet tomatoes and peppery watercress. Make it a meal: A salad tossed with a red-wine vinaigrette completes dinner.
Shrimp & Pesto Pasta
The spring flavors of asparagus and pesto combine beautifully with fettuccine and shrimp in a light and simple pasta dish that works for family or casual entertaining. Make it a meal: Serve with a tomato-and-arugula salad tossed with mustard-balsamic vinaigrette and fruit sorbet for dessert.
Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter
For this recipe, convenient store-bought potato gnocchi are tossed with delicate ribbons of zucchini, shallots and cherry tomatoes that have all been sautéed in nutty browned butter.
Fiber-rich beans stand in for the beef and pork in this surprisingly rich-tasting vegetarian take on pasta Bolognese. Without the meat, the dish has only a third of the fat and 80 percent less saturated fat. To make the perfect meal, serve with a peppery arugula salad and warm, crusty Italian bread.
The flavors of Italy are best expressed in simplicity: a dash of spices, a little oil and dinner's on the table in minutes--especially if you use frozen spinach and frozen ravioli or tortellini.
Penne with Braised Squash & Greens
This chunky sauce is laced with chard and accented with smoked tofu. Convenient packages of peeled and diced butternut squash are available in most supermarkets in the fall and winter.
Rigatoni with Beef & Eggplant Ragu
Eggplant gives this pasta sauce a rich meatiness that complements the ground beef. Plus the eggplant allows us to use a little less beef but still have a generous and hearty serving.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
In this classic Italian pasta recipe, anchovies are mashed into olive oil to add amazing depth to the garlicky sauce. If broccoli rabe is too bitter, you can use broccolini or broccoli in its place.
Macaroni with Sausage & Ricotta
A bit of sausage goes a long way in flavoring the creamy ricotta tomato sauce in this healthy and quick pasta recipe. Serve with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.
Spaghetti with Halibut & Lemon
In this delicious and simple pasta recipe, halibut is “cooked” ceviche-style in a zesty lemon marinade then tossed with warm spaghetti. While the fish marinates, throw together a salad for an easy and healthy dinner.
Bucatini alla Puttanesca
This classic Italian pasta recipe for bucatini (spaghetti with a hole in the center) with a flavorful tomato sauce, seasoned with olives, anchovy, oregano and capers, comes together in just 30 minutes. Puttanesca was named after the “ladies of the night” who, according to legend, cooked it to seduce their clients. Serve atop sautéed chicken cutlets with a simple tossed salad for a restaurant-worthy meal.
Fusilli with Yellow Squash & Grape Tomatoes
For this healthy and quick pasta recipe, corkscrew-shaped pasta, fusilli, is tossed with silky sautéed summer squash, ripe red tomatoes and fresh thyme. Serve with a green salad with vinaigrette and crusty whole-grain bread.
Cartwheel Pasta with Peppers & Onions
This simple pasta recipe is one of the best ways to enjoy sweet bell peppers. The pasta sauce--red peppers stewed with caramelized onions and tomatoes--is tossed with wagon-wheel pasta for an easy and filling pasta dinner.
Mediterranean Baked Penne
This Italian-inspired take on an American casserole is about as tasty as a one-dish meal can get.