A few weeks ago, I shared this recipe in my stories on Instagram in partnership with Fred Meyer and Kroger, but I wanted to share it here on the blog just in case you missed it! I’ve gotten lots of direct messages about it — and rightfully so! This easy recipe is basically what I call Pantry Pasta because it’s the perfect way to use whatever you have on hand and get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. I came up with it last year because we always had jars of half-used ingredients on hand… and no real plan to use them up. I started combining flavors that are tried and trusted, then it just developed from there. It’s SO easy and SO satisfying.
I’m going to walk you through how I typically make this pasta recipe, but keep in mind that it’s a pantry recipe… so anything goes! It just depends on what dry-goods you have on hand in your kitchen. I do suggest keeping it in the realm of Mediterranean flavors. So, olives, peppers, tomatoes, onions, pesto, etc. But don’t worry: I have a list of potential substitutions for you, too! This meal comes together in less than 30 minutes, so it’s perfect when you don’t feel like cooking.
Easy Weeknight Dinner: My Pantry Pasta Recipe
One thing to keep in mind is that I don’t really measure anything for this recipe. All measurements below are approximations, but don’t feel like you have to follow them exactly. This is a pantry meal, so whatever amount you have on hand is great!
- 1 cup marinated artichokes — Trader Joe’s has my favorite kind
- 3-4 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup capers
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- Sea salt flakes
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Zest of 1 lemon for garnish
Strain the oil from the marinated artichokes into a large heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the thinly sliced shallot. When the shallot becomes translucent, add garlic and tomato paste. Let the tomato pasta deepen in color and caramelize for a deeper flavor, about 2 minutes (I learned this trick from Alison Roman!). Tumble in chopped tomatoes, artichokes, capers, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and chopped olives. Stir to combine and let simmer while the pasta cooks. You may need to reduce the heat.
Next, cook your pasta to the packaging directions. Once it’s finished, drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Toss the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil. Pour the liquid into the sauce mixture and stir, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan. Allow to simmer for a few more minutes while it thickens.
To plate, spoon the pasta into a bowl and top with the sauce. Garnish with lemon zest, sea salt flakes, freshly ground pepper, and a healthy amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- Fresh tomatoes — sub with canned tomatoes, whole peeled if possible
- Olives — you can use any type of olive you have on hand, just make sure there are no pits! You can also use jarred olives
- Shallots — sub with whatever kind of onion you have in the pantry
- Roasted red peppers in a jar — a great substitution if you don’t have tomatoes, olives, or capers. They add a different type of flavor, but it’s good!
- Orzo — use whatever shape of pasta you have on hand. It’s great with fettuccine, rigatoni, gnocchi, and farfalle. I’ve used gluten-free pasta, too!
- Artichokes — if you don’t have them, it’s not the end of the world! Use olive oil for the first step instead.
- Meat — if you want to incorporate meat, I love using Italian sausage or pancetta. But even a grilled chicken breast is a great addition to this meal.
- Pesto — you can also incorporate a jar of pesto into the sauce. Add it in with the olives and capers.
I’m also working on a blog post all about my favorite pantry staples, so be on the lookout for that! Have you been enjoying my pantry staples recipes lately? I figure since we’re all stuck at home and relying on whatever is in the pantry, it’s time to get creative.
Looking for even more easy weeknight recipes? Check out these:
- Comfort Food Recipes I Highly Recommend
- Rustic Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
- My Easy Ramen Recipe Made with Pantry Staples