Mediterranean pasta refers to the type of pasta dishes prepared in the culinary cultures near the Mediterranean Sea. Pasta dishes from this region are nutritious ones, with generous usage of fresh vegetables, fish and seafood. Olive oil is used as the cooking medium, and flavorings like oregano, basil and thyme are used to impart a subtle yet delicious flavor to the pasta sauces.
Ingredients and Preparation
Mediterranean pasta dishes are flavored with fresh or dried herbs such are basil, oregano, parsley, thyme or bay leaves. Fresh seasonal vegetables make it to various dishes, common ones being bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini. Garlic, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper are used in almost all sauces, and wine, stock and black or green olives are also common additions. Seafood and fish variants are common, and pasta used may be of a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Cheeses such as feta and parmesan are also usual inclusions.
The method of preparation generally involves preparing a sauce with sautéed onions and garlic, roasted, grilled or sautéed vegetables or meats and other ingredients like wine, stock or canned tomatoes and seasonings. Pasta is cooked till al dente and tossed with the sauce, mixing in grated or crumbled cheese during the final stage of preparation.
Mediterranean pasta is served hot, with a garnish of grated cheese and/or basil leaves or chopped parsley, in warmed pasta bowls. It may be served as a starter or side dish with pita bread and green salad. It may also be served as a light meal by itself. In Italy and Spain, pasta is served as primo or first course.
Popular Mediterranean Pasta Recipes
- Vegetarian Mediterranean Pasta: Broccoli, baby mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes or other vegetables as per choice are included in this version.
- Seafood Mediterranean Pasta: Seafood such as shrimp and scallops are cooked in a sauce made with clam-tomato juice, seasonal vegetables and thickened with corn starch for making the sauce for this variant.
- Mediterranean Pasta with Chicken: Cooked chicken breasts are included in this variant, optionally with other ingredients like crumbled bacon and artichoke hearts, in a tomato sauce which is served with pasta.
- Pastitsio: This is a layered and oven baked Greek pasta dish consisting of a bottom layer of meat in tomato sauce, a middle layer of pasta and a topmost layer of béchamel sauce.
- Catalan Style Pasta: This is a Spanish casserole dish which consists of pasta, tomatoes, flavorings, chorizo sausage and butifarra or white sausage. Toasted bread, paprika, saffron and pine nuts are also included in the dish.