Recipes · Cooking tips · Techniques

Tomato and Olive Pasta

Tomato and Olive Pasta

This tomato and olive pasta is really easy to make and will get you out of a pinch when you are short on time and money.

 

Dig through your pantry, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand.  Even if you don’t, the ingredients used in this dish are easy to find and very affordable.

 

This sauce is similar to a puttanesca. Traditionally, a puttanesca sauce includes tomatoes, olive oil, olives, anchovies and capers.

 

Our sauce omits the anchovies and capers, which have really strong flavors. Instead we add flavor with onions and a ton of garlic and keep the saltiness of the olives.

 

What type of olives should I use?

Since this is a pantry dish, I say use whatever you have on hand. Green, black, Kalamata, will all have that salty flavor we’re after.

 

We use green, pitted Spanish olives. We always have them in the pantry because I use them for chicken fricassee and these picadillo recipes: Cuban picadillo and turkey picadillo.

 

This simple vegetarian tomato sauce will help you turn plain pasta into a satisfying and delicious meal.

 

This site contains affiliate links to products. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

To make this tomato and olive pasta sauce you will need

4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion, finely diced

5-6 Garlic Cloves, minced

28 ounce canned Tomatoes (do not drain), if you’re using whole tomatoes break them down using kitchen shears or get in there with your hands.

½ cup Pitted Olives, sliced, we used pitted Spanish olives

½ teaspoon Dried Oregano

¼ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper, plus extra for serving, if desired

¼ – ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt, plus 2 tablespoons for the pasta water

16 ounces Spaghetti, cooked to package directions for al dente, or use your favorite pasta

Chopped Parsley, for garnish

 

Prep Work

Prep is simple in this recipe, but the onions, garlic, spices and tomatoes go in the pan one right after the other. There’s not a lot of time to prep in between. Best to have everything ready to go before you start.

 

If you’re using pre-diced or crushed tomatoes, then just open the can. If you’re starting with canned whole tomatoes, then you need to break them down.

 

Add the tomatoes to a large bowl and break them down by using kitchen shears, or get-in-there with your hands. Don’t drain the tomatoes before adding them to the bowl.

 

We used fire-roasted crushed tomatoes in this recipe. I tried these recently and I think they’re fantastic! I would see them at the market or as ingredients in various recipes and never thought to try them. Then I saw them on sale and picked up a can and Wow, really enjoyed them! Now they’re my go to.

 

Dice the onions, mince the garlic and slice the olives. They are all going into the pan at different times so keep them in separate bowls.

 

I like to use glass nesting bowls to keep my ingredients organized. They are perfect for stress free cooking!

 

That’s it, just measure out the spices and olive oil and you’re ready to start cooking.

 

The ingredients of tomato and olive pasta displayed on a wood cutting board.

 

Get the pasta water started

I like to get a big pot of water going before starting the sauce. I do this when I make any pasta dish.

 

A big pot of water can take 15-20 minutes to come to a boil. We don’t want our sauce, meat or other component sitting around getting cold, hard, old, while we wait.

 

Instead, try this: Place a large pot of water over moderate to moderate-low heat. Cover and let the water start heating up.

 

That way, the water will only take a couple minutes to come to a full boil when you are ready to drop the pasta.

 

Start the tomato and olive sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but nowhere near smoking, add the onions.

 

Cook them gently for 5-7 minutes until they soften and start to caramelize around the edges. Stir the onions frequently to ensure they don’t burn.

 

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Then carefully add the tomatoes to the pan and give everything a good stir.

 

Now, add the olives, oregano and crushed red pepper and stir well to combine the ingredients.

 

When the sauce starts to boil, lower the heat to medium-low to low, cover and cook the tomato and olive sauce for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Keep the sauce at a simmer. Lower the heat a little if it starts boiling too vigorously.

 

We want to gently cook the tomatoes for a while, so that the sauce can reduce and thicken. The onions will practically dissolve and become part of the sauce.

 

The flavors from the garlic and spices will get a chance to integrate with the other ingredients. Cooking the tomato sauce low and slow really makes all the difference, especially when using canned products.

 

Cook the pasta

When the sauce is almost done, raise the heat on the pot of water and bring it to a full boil. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to the water. Drop the pasta and cook it to package directions for al dente.

 

Reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.

 

Taste the tomato sauce and add salt if needed. As a reference we added a little more than ¼ teaspoon to the sauce.

 

We want to wait until the end to add salt to the sauce because the tomatoes and the olives both contain a good amount of salt already.

 

Serve the tomato and olive sauce with the pasta

Combine the pasta and the tomato olive sauce in the pan. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce a bit and make it easier to combine.

 

Garnish with a little chopped parsley, and serve with parmesan cheese and extra crushed red pepper, if desired.

 

Spaghetti and tomato and olive sauce in a large skillet.

 

Serves 6

 

For more easy, delicious and affordable pasta recipes check out these aglio e olio dishes. One basic recipe, three fantastic dinners!

 

 

Tomato and Olive Pasta

This tomato and olive pasta is really easy to make and will get you out of a pinch when you are short on time and money.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: easy pasta recipes, spaghetti with tomato and olive sauce, vegetarian pasta recipes
Servings: 6
Calories: 433kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion finely diced
  • 5-6 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 28 ounce canned Tomatoes do not drain if you’re using whole tomatoes break them down using kitchen shears or get in there with your hands.
  • ½ cup Pitted Olives sliced, we used pitted Spanish olives
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper plus extra for serving, if desired
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt plus 2 tablespoons for the pasta water
  • 16 ounces Spaghetti cooked to package directions for al dente, or use your favorite pasta
  • Chopped Parsley for garnish

Instructions

Get the pasta water started

  • Place a large pot of water over moderate to moderate-low heat. Cover and let the water start heating up. That way, the water will only take a couple minutes to come to a full boil when you are ready to drop the pasta.

Start the tomato and olive sauce

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium heat.
  • When the oil is hot, but nowhere near smoking, add the onions.
  • Cook them gently for 5-7 minutes until they soften and start to caramelize around the edges, stirring frequently.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Carefully add the tomatoes to the pan and give everything a good stir.
  • Add the olives, oregano and crushed red pepper and stir well to combine the ingredients.
  • When the sauce starts to boil, lower the heat to medium-low to low, cover and cook the tomato and olive sauce for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Keep the sauce at a simmer. Lower the heat a little if it starts boiling too vigorously.

Cook the pasta

  • When the sauce is almost done, raise the heat on the pot of water and bring it to a boil.
  • Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to the water.
  • Drop the pasta and cook it to package directions for al dente.
  • Reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
  • Taste the tomato sauce and add salt if needed. As a reference we added a little more than ¼ teaspoon to the sauce.
  • Combine the pasta and the tomato olive sauce in the pan. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce a bit and make it easier to combine.
  • Garnish with a little chopped parsley, and serve with parmesan cheese and extra crushed red pepper, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 550mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 7.1% | Vitamin C: 17.3% | Calcium: 7.8% | Iron: 16.4%
The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

Related Posts

Lemon Pepper Pasta

Lemon Pepper Pasta

In this lemon pepper pasta recipe, linguine noodles are tossed with a light, lemony, black pepper sauce. The pasta is simply garnished with lemon zest and chopped parsley for an easy, delicious dinner.

Southwestern Pasta

Southwestern Pasta

If you’re looking for a quick, satisfying meal that will feed a crowd, try this southwestern pasta. Rigatoni pasta is combined with ground turkey that’s been seasoned with southwestern-inspired spices and simmered with tomatoes, black beans and corn. Then it’s all topped with cheese and baked until perfectly melted.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.