Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Capers and Red Onion

In the summer, I prefer to eat simply prepared food with lots of fresh ingredients from the garden. Pasta is a dish that everyone loves and this recipe shows off the great flavor of perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes. It is enhanced with lots of fresh herbs along with capers and red onion. Whether cooking for two or for a small gathering of friends, this dish will be your new summer favorite.

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Capers and Red Onion

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Capers and Red Onion

  • 1/2 lb. pasta, spaghetti is my pasta of choice
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped*
  • 1/2 c. olive oil plus extra to drizzle (the drizzle oil should be your best)
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • 1 or 2 T. capers
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh herbs (mostly basil, with some oregano and little parsley)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or to taste)
  •  1 t. crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. grated cheese (pecorino is my choice but parmesan is also good)

    The Very Best Ingredients

*This dish should be made with either perfectly ripe tomatoes from your garden or purchased at a farmers market or farm stand. If not available,  the recipe will have a different taste.

This recipe makes two very large servings and is easily doubled.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook to al dente. Drain the pasta but reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water to add if sauce appears dry after tossed with pasta.

In the meantime, heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add red onion and saute until soft. Add garlic and red pepper, then saute for one minute being careful that the garlic doesn’t brown. Add the white wine, capers, salt and pepper and saute for several minutes. Turn off the heat, add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper.

Add pasta and cheese to the sauce and toss until covered with sauce. Plate pasta, drizzle with a little finishing oil and sprinkle with additional cheese.

This is a simple dish where tomatoes are the star. It is a recipe where the very best ingredients should be used; totally ripe tomatoes, your best extra virgin olive oil and grated  cheese. I hope you will agree that this is your new summer favorite.


About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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31 Responses to Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Capers and Red Onion

  1. Tom C says:

    Looks beautiful Karen. Nothing like a simple, fresh dish!

  2. That’s a very nice, simple spaghetti with wonderful garden flavors. Super!

  3. Susan says:

    Absolutely beautiful. And so simple. A nice garlic crisp on the side and what more do you need!

  4. Judy says:

    The freshness of tomato and basil tastes like summer, if summer had a flavor 😉 Beautiful dish.

  5. I like simple dishes in the summer, too. This looks great and I can’t wait to try it!

  6. Karen,
    Looks yummy – you might have just solved my “what’s for dinner?” question for the evening meal.

  7. lvaletutto says:

    I have been wanting to make a nice pasta dish lately, such is life when you are following Lidia Bastianich on Facebook! I happen to have all of these ingredients on hand so I think I shall be making this dish tonight! Thanks for the recipe idea! Laura V.

    • lvaletutto says:

      Just had dinner, here in Germany, and it was delish! Thanks for the great recipe! Only made a few small changes like using orecchiette pasta (it’s what I had on hand) and adding grilled eggplant cubes. I also added a little of the pasta cooking water to the dish to make it a little saucier. Overall this is a real winner. Thanks again. Laura V.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Laura, Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed the recipe. I think orecchiette would be great for this dish as they would catch so much of the sauce. I bet the eggplant added great taste and I will try it.

  8. Kristy says:

    This looks like a wonderful summer pasta. I’ve never used heirlooms before, but this looks like a fun way to try them – a recipe in which they are the star.

  9. Love the photo and it looks absolutely amazing and really fresh, perfect for summer.

  10. I love fresh pasta sauce! I just made some slow-cooked sauce yesterday. I plan on playing with the recipe, which is fine by me because it’s soooo good. I could definitely eat garden tomato sauce several times a week.

  11. Velva says:

    This is a beautiful, fresh, healthy meal. A reminder of what is so good about summer. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.


  12. Pasta doesn’t get much better than this, Karen. Adding capers and red onion to vine ripened tomatoes makes the most delicious sauce possible. I want to stick a fork right into that lovely photo.

  13. Gary Lum says:

    I love the look of those fresh vegetables.

  14. Ann says:

    An amazing and beautiful dish – I make something very similar, but without capers….and I love capers! I’ll have to try it!

  15. Tandy says:

    what a great combination of flavours 🙂

  16. Love the ingredients – there’s some serendipity here as I cooked nearly exactly the same dish last night.

  17. The perfect summer dish…so light and refreshing..
    I love the basil in the picture..looks amazing

  18. This looks wonderful. I could just dig right in. That picture made me hungry!

  19. spicegirlfla says:

    This is my absolute favorite summer dish!! Garden fresh for sure, I like the addition of capers for a bit of briny saltiness!

  20. Such a great, simple summer pasta!

  21. cabinet stew says:

    Summer on a plate! I LOVE this kind of dish and I have everything at home in my cupboards and garden – including some fresh Pecorino Romano!! Dinner tonight!!
    (oh– I will have to add some summer squash as they are growing like wild in my garden now!)

  22. Vivienne says:

    even tho its a simple pasta but im sure the flavours must be beautiful (with a punch from the capers too!)! love simple dishes like this in summer…or even winter 😀

  23. Charles says:

    Beautiful recipe and photos, especially the one with the ingredients! I make a similar tomato based sauce (I just LOVE capers!), except I also add in finely chopped black olives – the ones which are preserved by salting, not the ones in brine, they taste different. There’s something almost “out of this world” about tomato, pasta and basil isn’t there? I could eat it for every meal!

  24. This sounds like it is absolutely full of flavor. Love the addition of the capers. A great way to use up the tomatoes right now!!

  25. karencooking says:

    It sounds odd, but I feel like I am literally smelling basil when I look at that second photo . . . it is so vivid!

  26. ambrosiana says:

    Great and tasty recipe! Love the red onions! It just enhances the taste of heirloom ripe tomatoes! I am in love with your china!!!

  27. Monique says:

    We love this type of meal..I will use your recipe next time..capers are a delight for us~Thank you.

  28. edieut says:

    Looks like a great recipe and I love your photography. I can actually smell and taste the basil, capers and tomato. Getting really hungry, good job 🙂

  29. Monique says:

    We did!
    I have made this similar dish so many times..but the addition of the capers were truly wonderful!

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