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Spaghetti and tomato and olive sauce in a large skillet.

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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy pasta recipes, spaghetti with tomato and olive sauce, vegetarian pasta recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 433kcal


  • 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


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.


Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 550mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 14.3mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3mg