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.
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- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: About 30 minutes
- Total time:About 30 minutes
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.