Pasta with Olives, Walnuts, Basil and Feta

Use fresh basil from the garden for a spicy kick to this super-easy meal, served with an arugula-tomato salad.

Photo: David Leach 2009

10 minutes

15 minutes

1 bunch basil
1 box cherry tomatoes
2 bags arugula (or 8 cups)
1 lemon, preferably organic
8 oz. black olives in brine
1 small bag walnuts
8 oz. Feta cheese
1 lb. tagliatelle, preferably unenriched

Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt

Chef’s knife
Large stockpot or pasta pot
Measuring cups and spoons
Mixing bowls
Paring knife
Salad spinner

Wine: Beaujolais
Dessert: Chilled melon slices drizzled with lime juice

1. Fill the pasta pot 2/3 with water, add 2 tbsps. salt and put over high heat
2. Get out Pantry Items
3. Get out Tools
4. Assemble the ingredients
5. Chill the wine

1. Rinse and pat dry the basil; pluck 2 cups leaves.

2. Rinse the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.

3. Rinse and dry the arugula. If the leaves are big, tear them into bite-sized pieces.

4. Drain the olives.

5. Remove the olive pits if you’d like by placing a handful on the cutting board, crushing the olives quickly with the flat of a chef’s knife, then taking out the pits.

6. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle them with a scant ½ tsp. salt. Toss and set them aside.

7. Put the arugula in a medium-sized bowl.

8. Squeeze half the lemon through your fingers into a small bowl.

9. Measure out 1/3 cup olive oil into a large serving bowl.

10. Mince the basil and stir it into the olive oil.

11. Stir the olives into the olive oil.

12. Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl with the olives, and stir.

13. Open the wine.

14. Put the pasta in the boiling water and cook until al dente. It will take between 7-12 minutes.

15. Put the tomatoes in a colander and shake it to remove any juices from the tomatoes, then add them to the arugula in the bowl.

16. Drizzle 3 tbsps. olive oil and 1 tsp. lemon juice over the arugula and tomatoes and toss, toss, toss.

17. Check the pasta – if it’s cooked, drain it.

18. Put the pasta in a bowl with the olive oil, olives, cheese, and basil and toss until the pasta is coated with the mixture. Add the walnuts and toss some more.

19. Taste the pasta for seasoning – you probably won’t need to add salt but may want to add some pepper.

20. Dinner is ready! Don’t forget the wine.

Recipe courtesy of, which helps you make complete, step-by-step meals of restaurant quality at home.


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