Tomato Caper Pasta is a light & savory dish. Capers, thinly sliced garlic, fresh tomatoes and Italian parsley surround tantalizing al dente pasta. Have this with a glass of chilled white wine and you will feel carried away to a sidewalk café in Italy.
I grew up where creating and preparing new recipes was a cherished way of life. My parents kitchen was always buzzing with new and tasty dishes like bibimbap (a phenomenal Korean dish), falafel, gumbos, homemade raviolis and pasta. We loved variety and flavor. Of all the different types of meals, Italian had a special place in our kitchen. You see, with my dad being full Italian and my mom absolutely loving Italian food, Italian dishes became a regular at our dinner table. I was a young tween able to make spaghetti sauce just by taste and boring my friends with lectures of the virtues of al dente pasta. On my first trip to Italy, I quickly learned there is an American Italian way to cook and a Italian way to cook. The American Italian way seems to have rich and deep flavors. The Italian way to cook is extremely fresh with lighter, less complex ways of cooking. Honestly, it took me a little while to adjust to the Italian ways of eating with their extremely long and several course dinners. Once I did adjust, I fell in love. This Tomato Caper Pasta with its fresh produce, brings Italy home to me. The only way to improve this dish is to make the noodles from scratch.
Tomato Caper Pasta Tips:
- If you have never had capers you may be asking what on earth they are. Technically they are a bud of a plant that is cured, similar to how olives are cured. They remind me of a cross between little peppercorns and olives. They have a distinct taste that work so well in pasta dishes and are the perfect companion to the tomatoes in this Tomato Caper Pasta dish.
- Italian parsley, also known as flat leaf parsley, is an herb that adds a robust freshness to the dish. Just as a word of caution, Italian parsley is usually side by side with the cilantro at the grocery store. They can often be confused with one another by appearance but are very different in taste. You will definitely want to make sure that you don’t accidentally pick up cilantro.
- Let’s talk pasta for a minute. It has become extremely popular to make one-pot pasta dishes. I can understand the appeal with the simplicity of not having to clean multiple pans. I have even contemplated creating one or two of these recipes, however, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Every ounce of Italian in me screams “NO, DON”T DO IT!!!”. There is nothing like cooking pasta in heavily salted water to al dente (almost done). It brings a layer of flavor to the dish that is just wonderful. Keep in mind to use a large stockpot filled 3/4 of the way full with cold water. As the water comes to a boil, heavily salt it to taste like sea water. Add the noodles to the boiling water making sure to stir a few times to prevent the noodles from sticking together and do not cover while they cook. Watch the noodles carefully in the last few minutes of cooking to make sure they cook to al dente, with a slight firmness to them (almost done). The best way to do this is to taste test. Trust me on this, your mouth will know. (affiliate)
- I try not to eat pasta too often but there are times that you just need to dig in. De Boles Organic Pasta takes a huge amount of the guilt away because of the amazing things Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin can do. (affiliate)
- While the water is coming to a boil for the pasta, clean and prepare your veggies. Once the noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil, garlic and rosemary sprig over medium/low to medium heat in a large skillet just until the garlic begins to bubble, about 3-5 mins. This will infuse the oil with the flavors of rosemary and garlic. At this point, add the capers and continue to cook for about another 2 mins. Raise the heat a bit, add the tomatoes and simmer just until they begin to fall apart about 2-3 mins. Add the parsley and cook for another couple of minutes. Toss in cooked al dente noodles.
- Once you have your gorgeous al dente pasta swimming in the luscious tomato caper sauce, shred Parmigiana Reggiani over each individual’s plate to each person’s taste preference. (HMMMM….my mouth is watering just thinking about it.) This Tomato Caper Pasta goes great with my Rosemary Fennel Shrimp (coming soon), a crisp glass of white wine and a side salad.
- 12-13 oz spaghetti noodles *use gluten free noodles for gluten free option
- 2-3 tbsp sea salt *for cooking pasta
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4-5 garlic cloves *thinly sliced
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 heaping tbsp capers *finely minced or chopped
- 5 med vine ripened tomatoes *diced about 2½ cups
- 1 med bunch Italian parsley *finely chopped about 1½ cups
- Freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiani cheese *optional
- Fill a 6 qt stockpot ¾ of the way full with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Just before boiling add enough sea salt to make the water taste like sea water (2-3 tbsp). Add pasta and bring back to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure noodles do not stick together. Cook to al dente, with a slight firmness and almost done. Taste testing is the best way to achieve al dente. Once cooked drain and set aside until tomato caper sauce is complete.
- Meanwhile, as the water for the pasta comes to a boil, prep remaining ingredients.
- Once the pasta is cooking, place olive oil, garlic and rosemary in a large skillet pan over med/low to med heat. Heat just until garlic begins to bubble, about 3-5 mins. Add capers and continue to heat for another 2 mins. Raise the heat a bit, add the tomatoes & simmer just until they begin to fall apart, about 2-3 mins. Add parsley & cook for another couple of minutes.
- Toss in al dente noodles.
- Top with freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiani cheese.