Pasta, Quick and Easy

Greek Penne Rigate-Not all Pasta is Italian!

Penne rigate

penne rigate

Yogurt is an ancient food made from the fermentation of milk. Prior to the industrialization of food, it was known basically as milk that had been allowed to sour and curdle; in the southern parts of the United States, it was referred to as “clabber”.

Today, yogurt is a processed milk that has been pasteurized, homogenized, and fermented with gut-healthy microorganisms, namely Lactobacillus.bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Yogurt undergoes the process of lactic acid fermentation, such as sauerkraut and fermented vegetables (tempeh, kimchi), where these specific microorganisms are added to promote lactic acid bacteria.penne rigate

Decisions, Decisions

There is a plethora of yogurt styles and flavors in the market, representing more than two-thirds of the dairy section in many grocery stores. The fat content of a yogurt is based upon the type of milk used–skimmed, low-fat or whole-fat. Additionally, many yogurts are available with added ingredients such as fruit, honey and granola. Unfortunately, these designer yogurts often offer more sugar and peace of mind than true nutritional benefits. The saying, “less is more” is a perfect description of how to go about purchasing a truly healthy yogurt. Plain with no added ingredients is recommended as the best option; always check the label for sugar content and degree of live cultures.

Greek or French

The National Yogurt Association indicates to look for a “Live and Active Cultures” seal. This seal is voluntary to yogurt manufacturers whose products contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of processing. A major yogurt manufacturer produces several lines of yogurt; one is partially GMO, one high in sugar and another represents itself as French style. This is interesting because most of the yogurts on the market are “Greek” style; but now, there’s a trend toward “French” style. These yogurts attempt to replicate the strict European criteria for production. As for now, the majority of the yogurts in U.S. grocers are “Greek”. It will be interesting to see if the cleaner “French style” takes to American consumers.

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Gastrointestinal Benefits

Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, calcium and protein, as well as riboflavin and phosphorous. The primary benefit of consuming yogurt is the addition of probiotics to the digestive system. As noted before, the digestive system is one of the first indications of aging due to the lack of probiotics and digestive enzymes. When probiotics are combined with digestive enzymes, the digestive system is able to build its own protective armor, if you will, minimizing many gastrointestinal issues. Plain yogurt can be used as a substitute for recipes that call for buttermilk or sour cream, or incorporated into salad dressing recipes.

Balanced Nutrition

This recipe includes many spices, as well as whole grain pasta, cucumber, dill and garlic. The Greek spice blend of thyme, oregano, paprika offer a delicious flavor as well as medicinal attributes. Whole grain pasta is yet another plus in this recipe due to its increased soluble fiber and inclusion of the whole wheat grain.  The cucumber provides a good amount of vitamin K, and small amounts of pepperoncini and Kalamata olives provide a daily dose of vinegar to the diet, which assists in maintaining the body’s pH balance, as well as digestion.

Greek Penne Rigate
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
9 mins
Total Time
19 mins

Who says all pasta has to be Italian? This creamy, tangy Greek sauce will have you saying, "OPA" in no time! 

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Servings: 2 cups
Author: SmartyPantsKitchen
Pasta Ingredients
  • 1 lb. penne rigate pasta
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pepperoncini chopped, include juice
  • 4 tablespoons Kalamata olives chopped
  • feta cheese optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup Greek yogurt whole fat is best
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 medium cucumber finely chopped and drained well
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Bring 10 cups water to boil

  2. Prepare veggies: chop peppers; pulse cucumber in food processor; remove and place in paper towel; squeeze excess moisture out

  3. Combine all sauce ingredients in bowl; set aside

  4. Cook pasta; drain; add sauce and chopped vegetables to warm pasta and combine well

  5. Garnish with feta cheese and pepper

Recipe Notes
  • The Greek sauce, Tzatziki, can be served as a dip as well. Serve it chilled with pita bread or vegetables.

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