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Fresh Tomato Pasta with Lemon and Olives

Fresh tomato pasta with lemon and olives is a beautiful blend of sweet summer-ripe tomatoes, lemon-basil zing, 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!

bowl of fresh tomato and olive pasta

The pasta was light and bursting with freshness from the tomatoes, marinated in lemon zest, olives, capers, basil, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan.

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 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.

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 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.

Love summer tomatoes? 

Then check out some great recipes and tips on what to do with tomatoes.

bowl of fresh tomato and olive pasta
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4.84 from 18 votes

Fresh Tomato Pasta with Lemon and Olives

Fresh tomato pasta with lemon and olives is a beautiful blend of sweet summer-ripe tomatoes, lemon-basil zing, salty olives, capers and Parmesan.
Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean, Vegetarian
Servings: 3
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pound 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 pound baby rigatoni (250 gm, about 2 cups)

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon chopped capers, rinsed (or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste)
  • 1.5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Make Ahead: 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 536kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 511mg | Potassium: 617mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1836IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 2mg
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This recipe has been updated from a previous post in July 2016.

Other easy pasta dishes you might like: 

Easy Vegetarian Pasta Recipe (for all seasons)

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This is one of my favorite non-meat meals. Its a light, healthy, zesty, Easy Vegetarian Pasta Recipe and perfect for and season.
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Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta

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This lemon garlic shrimp pasta is out of this world.  The lemon shines through, the capers and garlic give it extra oomph and the butter makes it rich and silky. Seriously good!
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