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
- 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 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