Mediterranean Cavatappi

What’s more delicious than a big bowl of pasta to kick off cooler weather? To continue our month of chicken dinners, we’re sharing a delicious (and easy) Mediterranean pasta from Colu Henry’s cookbook Back Pocket Pasta. Here’s how to make it…

Mediterranean Cavatappi
From Colu Henry’s Back Pocket Pasta

Shape is everything when it comes to enhancing a sauce’s texture, so pick your pasta appropriately. For this dish, I chose curlicue cavatappi. With its shorter shape, you’ll be sure to fit all the ingredients — artichoke hearts, tomatoes and olives, too — on your fork. But the best is when you fold in the feta, which melts in the crooks of the corkscrews. I top this dish with extra feta and wispy dill, which adds a slightly sweetish grassy flavor.

Recipe: Mediterranean Cavatappi
Serves 4

You’ll need:

Boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (optional)
5 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound cavatappi
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups oil-packed artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives
3/4 cup roughly chopped dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
7 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill

Toss chicken thighs in oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast in at 375F for 20 to 25 minutes. Let them rest, discard the skin, and then shred.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of the salt and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Toss in the artichokes, olives and sun-dried tomatoes and stir together until combined. Cook the sauce for 5 minutes to allow flavors to come together, adding 1/2 cup of pasta water if the sauce seems dry. Add salt, pepper and shredded chicken.

Add the pasta directly to the skillet and toss to coat. Set aside 1/4 cup of the feta for garnish and stir the remainder into the skillet, adding 1/4 cup of pasta water or more (up to 1 cup), as needed to loosen up the sauce. Toss the pasta again so the cheese begins to melt and the sauce evenly coats the pasta.

Plate in bowls and garnish with the reserved feta and the dill. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Thank you so much, Colu! Your cookbook is one of our favorites.

P.S. More recipes, including grilled Greek salad, and pasta with yogurt and caramelized onions.

(Reprinted from Back Pocket Pasta. Copyright © 2017 by Colu Henry. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Peden + Munk. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)