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Pasta with Ricotta Salata, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Olives.

Gluten-Free Pasta with Ricotta Salata, Garlicky Spinach, Tomatoes, and Olives

Ricotta salata adds a mild cheese flavor to this dish. If you are unable to find it, replace it with feta or fresh mozzarella. To make the pasta dairy-free, simply omit the cheese.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 to 6
Author GlutenFreeBaking.com


  • 1 pound gluten-free penne pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olive, halved sliced
  • 3 ounces ricotta salata, grated, divided (about 1 cup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and return to cooking pot, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.
  2. While pasta cooks, in a large skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the garlic and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Add half the spinach and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Transfer the cooked spinach to a bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of olive oil, remaining garlic, and spinach.
  3. Add the spinach, tomatoes, olives, and remaining olive oil to the pasta and stir to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, loosen it by adding pasta water a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add three-quarters of the grated ricotta salata. Stir to combine.
  4. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour pasta into a large serving bowl or spoon onto individual plates. Top pasta with remaining ricotta salata and basil.