Meatless Monday: Summer Tomato Pasta

Late August means a few things around Al Dente HQ. First and foremost, my birthday is August 25, and since I’m pretty self-involved, this is a bit of a big deal for me. School starts soon, and since the person to whom I am related to by marriage is a teacher, that’s a big deal as well. In terms of food, late August marks the first large harvest of plum tomatoes. Also known as Roma tomatoes, these are the fruit that finds itself crushed for Italian red sauces, chopped for pico de gallo, or frozen whole for later use. Mid to late August is the peak of summer growing, especially in the northeast. Summer produce is at its most abundant. Squashes, greens, and the aforementioned tomatoes are abundant. The blueberries are winding down while the apples are picking up.



In short, it’s a good time to eat veggies.

So, with a bunch of tomatoes, a handful of herbs and some good pasta, you are closing in on a great summertime pasta dinner that celebrates nature’s bounty without being too heavy on your stomach for a hot evening.


WHAT WORKED: I typically dislike capers, but the briny little buggers actually come in handy here. They add an extra salty and vinegary flavor to the dish that complements everything.

WHAT DIDN’T: This needs a little cheese of some sort. Feta might work. Chevre crumbles would be better.


EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy. If you can operate a knife and boil water, you’ll knock this one out to rightfield.

BEST FOR: A summer weeknight.

SERVE WITH: A light-bodied wine or beer and some sunshine.



Summer Tomato Pasta
  • 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice plus the grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 to 6 medium ripe plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 oz. jar of capers, drained
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound dried penne or rigatoni

Combine lemon juice, zest, onion and garlic in a bowl and whisk to blend. Add a three-fingered pinch of salt, whisk to dissolve, and set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to boil, salt liberally, and cook the pasta per the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.

Add the tomatoes and parsley to the onion-lemon mixture and toss with a large spoon. Add the capers and two or three twists of a pepper grinder, and toss again. Combine this with the pasta in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the oil over the top and toss again. Serve with crumbled chevre or feta, or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.

Inspired by the geniusly-named Spoon With Me

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