Red Whole Wheat Penne

Probably the main foreign influence on Ethiopian cuisine is Italian. Pasta saltata is a common dish, cooked with rich butter, olive oil, pasta, berbere spice blend, and fiery chiles. This healthful version with whole wheat pasta uses almonds to create a pestolike sauce, and the red color comes from the hot harissa condiment. And just like the traditional Genovese version of the dish, this pasta is served with potatoes.


4 servings (serving size: about 2 cups)

Recipe from

Cooking Light

Nutritional Information

Calories 318
Caloriesfromfat 38 %
Fat 13.6 g
Satfat 1.6 g
Monofat 8 g
Polyfat 3.3 g
Protein 9.3 g
Carbohydrate 47.6 g
Fiber 6.7 g
Cholesterol 1 mg
Iron 2.3 mg
Sodium 325 mg
Calcium 71 mg


1 pound peeled Yukon gold potatoes (about 2)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 1 large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons harissa
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups hot cooked whole wheat penne (about 12 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup chopped arugula
1/4 cup chopped basil


1. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 1/2 cups liquid. Cool potatoes slightly, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add almonds, shallots, and garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes or until the almonds are golden, stirring often. Remove from heat; cool.

3. Place almond mixture in a food processor; add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, juice, cheese, harissa, and salt; process 1 minute or until well blended and almost smooth. With the processor on, slowly pour 1 1/2 cups reserved cooking liquid through food chute; process 1 minute or until smooth.

4. Combine pasta, potatoes, and almond mixture in a large bowl, tossing gently. Fold in arugula; sprinkle with basil.