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5 from 6 votes

Fresh Tomato Lemon Olive Pasta Recipe

Fresh tomato lemon olive pasta is a beautiful blend of sweet summer-ripe tomatoes, lemon-basil zing and salty olives, capers and cheese.

Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean, Vegetarian
Servings (change as needed): 3
Author: Cheryl


  • 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.