Mediterranean Penne with Arugula & Tomatoes

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Simple ingredients combine to make one of our favorite, healthy pasta dishes.

A healthy, delicious pasta dish doesn’t need heavy creams and cheeses, or long simmering sauces. You’ll find that if you combine the simple, complementary flavors of just a handful of regional Italian ingredients, your simply prepared dish will sing with Mediterranean flavors. Add peppery arugula to tangy cherry tomatoes, and toss in a pan with garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper, and you have a simple dish with flavors that bring out the best in one another, needing no embellishment.

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Mediterranean Penne with Arugula & Tomatoes

Simple with Mediterranean flavors, this pasta dish is an elegant and delicious addition to any menu.
Yield 6 people
Serving Size
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian


  • 14 ounces whole-grain penne pasta
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on the size)
  • 4 cups arugula washed and trimmed
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 anchovy fillets preserved in oil chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 4 tablespoons pecorino cheese grated, plus more if desired


  • Over high heat, bring a pot of water to a boil for cooking the pasta. When it boils, add 1 teaspoon salt then cook the pasta. Follow the number of minutes indicated in the package. When the pasta is cooked, drain. Set aside a cup of the water if needed for cooking the sauce.
  • Meanwhile, while waiting for the water to boil, prepare the sauce. Over medium heat, in a saucepan with extra-virgin olive oil, sautè the garlic and the anchovies(if using). After about 2 - 3 minutes, when the garlic is fragrant and infused in the oil, remove and discard the garlic.
  • Add the tomatoes and anchovy paste (if using) and toss with the oil. Cook for about 10 minutes when the juice of the tomatoes are seeping out and the sauce is thickening slightly. After about 10 minutes, add the arugula and black pepper. Toss until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked pasta and toss with the sauce. If you see that the sauce is too dry, add a little amount of pasta water. Add the Pecorino. Toss then turn off the heat.
  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on the serving plate and sprinkle more Pecorino if desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 219mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 2g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 10
Keywords Diabetic-Friendly, Pasta, Vegetarian

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Rowena Dumlao-Giardina

Rowena is a recipe developer and food & travel writer/photographer from Italy with Asian roots. Creating healthy dishes in her own kitchen is priority. She believes there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that her family is eating natural & nutritious meals.

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  1. This recipe sounds delicious, but I have a question. Just above the nutritional info it states "4 servings" but in the nutritional info it states 6 servings. Which is correct?

    1. Cheryl, Thanks for pointing that out! The correct yield that the nutrition data was calculated from was 6 servings. We've corrected the typo. If you want to do larger servings you ca, but of course the information would change.

    1. Julie, Of course you can leave out anchovies :)! We know that anchovies are not a lot of peoples cup of tea, so usually we make them optional. Another alternative is to use 1/2 teaspoon of anchovy paste which will add savoriness without being fishy or having the texture of anchovies that tends to put people off.

      1. thanks for the ideas…I want to leave out the anchovies because I'm vegan 😉 I was wondering if it would alter the recipe too much.

        1. Julie, You're welcome. No, omitting the anchovies altogether will be fine. If you want something salty in their place, you can always add olives (variety of your choosing).

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