Gluten-Free Pasta with Ricotta Salata, Garlicky Spinach, Tomatoes, and Olives

[Photographs: Elizabeth Barbone]

Note: Ricotta salata adds a mild cheese flavor to this dish. If you are unable to find it, replace it with mozzarella. To make the pasta dairy-free, simply omit the cheese.

About the author: Elizabeth Barbone of joins us every Tuesday with a new gluten-free recipe. She is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking. and "How to Cook Gluten-Free".

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Gluten-Free Pasta with Ricotta Salata, Garlicky Spinach, Tomatoes, and Olives

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4
Active time:About 30 minutes
Total time:About 30 minutes
This recipe appears in: Gluten-Free Tuesday: How to Cook Gluten-Free Pasta


  • 1 pound gluten-free penne pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3 ounces ricotta salata, grated, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves


  1. 1

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and return to cooking pot, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.

  2. 2

    While pasta cook, in a large skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the garlic and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Add half the spinach and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Transfer the cooked spinach to a bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of olive oil, remaining garlic, and spinach.

  3. 3

    Add the spinach, tomatoes, olives, and remaining olive oil to the pasta and stir to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, loosen it by adding pasta water a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add three-quarters of the grated ricotta salata. Stir to combine.

  4. 4

    Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour pasta into a large serving bowl or spoon onto individual plates. Top pasta with remaining ricotta salata and basil.

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