You might not think “greek” when you think of spaghetti, but the wonderful saucy flavors so closely associated with Italy translate well when paired with lemon and feta.
If you’ve noticed my by-line, with Zerkus right in the middle, it’s no surprise that I favor flavors that hit just a bit east of Italy. Greek flavors, to be exact.
Yes, I am Southern–but I’m also Greek! My paternal great-grandfather, Jack, came to the U.S. in 1912, from the northern coastal region of Greece, near Kavala. I never met him, unfortunately. I have only the stories my great-grandmother, Rosa, told me. And while there is some debate as to whether our original family name was Zervos, Zervas or possibly even Yerkus, there is no denying the influence that my Greek heritage has had on my upbringing and my cooking.
Traditional Greek spaghetti is made very much like its Italian counterpart, but with some wonderful differences. In my family’s version, a fresh tomato sauce is simmered all day with Greek seasonings, sometimes with olives, always with a bit of lemon, and with a beef roast replacing ground beef. And, of course, feta rather than parmesan cheese.
I love the recipes my great-grandmother taught me, and I make them when my family gets together. But for an easy weeknight dinner, I like a quicker, fresher sauce to top pasta. Greek or not, I’m guessing you’ll love this recipe,too.
Quick Greek-Style Spaghetti Recipe
1lb. fresh linguini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-15 oz can Wild Oats Organic Petite Diced Tomatoes, lightly drained
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons) Find out how to get the most juice here.
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons Greek oregano or Greek seasoning blend
1/2 cup good quality feta, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
Method: Cook linguini in a large pot of salted water until tender but not mushy. (Fresh pasta will cook more quickly than dried pasta, so make sure it is al dente. It’s important that the pasta hold up well against the sauce. Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and keep warm while making the sauce.
In a separate pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and seasonings, stir and heat thoroughly. Remove pan from burner and add lemon juice, stir to combine. Pour tomato mixture over warm pasta. Toss to combine. If needed, add reserved pasta water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, to fully incorporate sauce and moisten pasta. Top with lemon zest and crumbled feta. Serve immediately.
**This dish is great topped with grilled shrimp.