If you, like me, consider a tub of hummus to be a staple in your fridge for mid-afternoon snacking sessions, this is your ultimate pantry pasta. Hummus is far more than a dip — it's a garlicky, creamy condiment that's begging to be transformed into pasta sauce. It coats pasta just enough that it provides a luscious mouthfeel yet hardly weighs it down, which means there's plenty of room for additions.
A raid through the pantry for a jar of roasted red peppers, along with some salty kalamata olives and feta, gives the pasta a hearty dose of bold flavor with every bite. Toss a little parsley or basil in for color and freshness. Did you notice the only thing we're actually heating up is the pasta? It's one of those dishes that tastes like a whole lot more effort was involved.
A Barely-Cook Pasta Dinner That Can Feed One or Many
What makes this pasta special is that is takes something you probably wouldn't consider a sauce and makes you rethink what's possible. While hummus could have a raw, goopy consistency if you just tossed the pasta in it, here it's thinned with a little pasta water and then the barely al dente pasta is simmered in the mixture, which allows the pasta to finish cooking while the flavor of the hummus mellows out. This also gives the hummus a chance to coat every nook and cranny of the noodles.
The pasta is the only element in this recipe that requires cooking, which means it's one of the quickest, most interesting dinners to assemble when you need something delicious, fast. It's also an easy meal to scale up or down, depending on how many mouths you need to feed. That means even if it's just you for dinner tonight, you know you'll be eating well!
Pasta Dinner Playbook
You know that feeling of nailing dinner? Despite the busy schedule, even when you feel like the fridge is empty, and especially on those nights when you really don't want to cook? Us too, and that's because we've got a bunch of smart ideas up our sleeves that help us meet any dinner challenge.
In this series, we're showing you what dinner plays to use when pasta's on the menu. You'll find quick, one-pot meals, fast & fancy ravioli dinners, and game-changing grocery store shortcuts to make dinner an easy win.
Pasta with Hummus, Olives, Feta, and Red Pepper
Serves 4 to 6
dry short pasta, such as penne
plain or garlic hummus
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (12-ounce) jar
roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
feta cheese, crumbled
lightly packed chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook 2 minutes less than package directions for al dente, about 9 minutes. Transfer 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to a small bowl; set aside. Transfer an additional 1/2 cup of the water to a small bowl, add the hummus and a few generous grinds of black pepper, and whisk to combine; set aside.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the hummus mixture and simmer over medium heat, tossing gently, until the sauce has thickened and evenly coats the pasta, and the pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Add a splash or two of the reserved 1/4 cup of pasta water if the sauce thickens before the pasta is completely cooked. Remove from the heat and gently mix in the roasted red peppers, olives, feta, and basil or parsley. Taste and season with pepper as needed.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.