Fresh tomato lemon olive pasta is a beautiful blend of sweet summer-ripe tomatoes, lemon-basil zing and salty olives, capers and Parmesan.
My sister Kathy had the family over for dinner on the weekend. She served us this pasta dish with a green salad and a shrimp cake appetizer in her backyard. So good!
The pasta was light and bursting with freshness from the tomatoes, marinated in lemon zest, olives, capers, basil, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan.
I use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for the recipe. Choosing oils can be overwhelming with all the confusing labels and ‘fakes’ on the market. Our Cooking Oils: The Bare Essentials post offers quick ‘need to know’ information and recommendations. We have no association with any brands.
The recipe is adapted from Food & Drink, an Ontario LCBO magazine. When I got home from my sister’s dinner, I found my copy and made it again the next day – in less than half hour. Really easy.
I typically serve this vegetarian pasta as a Main Course with some warm crusty bread. It would also be great as a side for cold sliced chicken, Mediterranean-Style Marinated Chicken or Roasted Salmon Stuffed With Herbs.
Tailor To Your Taste
- The recipe called for anchovy paste which I didn’t have so I substituted capers.
- Use either shaved or grated Parmesan cheese.
- Try different pastas. My sister used rigatoni. I prefer a smaller pasta like baby penne or even thin spaghetti like vermicelli.
- Blanched asparagus cut into small pieces and some toasted almond slivers or pine nuts would be a great addition too.
- You can, of course, add cooked sausage, smoked chicken, shrimp or fish for a more substantial non vegetarian meal.
Make Ahead Fresh Tomato Lemon Olive Pasta
- To make this pasta ahead, prepare the tomato-olive mixture and marinade a couple of hours ahead, then just before serving, make the pasta and tossed it all together.
Fresh Tomato Lemon Olive Pasta Recipe
- 1 1/4 lb fresh tomatoes, any colour and shape (about 2 large tomatoes)
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or shaved if preferred)
- 1/2 lb baby rigatoni (250 gm, about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp chopped capers, rinsed (or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste)
- 1.5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/8 tsp chili flakes
- 1/8 tsp salt or to taste
- PREPARE TOMATO-OLIVE MIXTURE: Cut tomatoes into chunks and place in a medium bowl. Add olives, basil, lemon zest and cheese.
- MAKE MARINADE: In a small bowl, whisk vigorously olive oil, lemon juice, capers, garlic, chili flakes and salt. Add this marinade to the tomato-olive mixture. Set the mixture aside to marinate at room temperature while you boil the pasta.
- MAKE PASTA: Put pasta into well-salted boiling water and cook as per package directions until al dente (with a slight firmness). Drain (do not rinse), reserving 1/4 cup of pasta liquid if needed.
- ASSEMBLE AND SERVE: Put pasta and tomato mixture into the pot (not over the heat). Mix together, adding some of the pasta liquid - if needed - for a smooth consistency. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil. Adjust seasonings. Pour into a large shallow bowl and serve with a green salad and some crusty bread or slices of cured meats if desired.
This recipe has been updated from a previous post in July 2016.
Other easy pasta dishes you might like: