Quick Tomato and Caper Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan Recipe

Servings: 4

Time: 20 min

Diet: Veg

Quick Tomato and Caper Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan Recipe

A 5-step vegetarian pasta dish

There’s nothing better than a satisfying meal without the effort and hours spent in the kitchen. If you’re lacking cooking inspiration, Italian food never disappoints, and this speedy 5-step pasta dish is no exception. Ready in under 20 minutes, this recipe is perfect for a lunch or dinner in a hurry and bursts with strong flavours for a hearty meal. If you’re calorie or diet-conscious, you’re also in for a treat as this dish is under 500 kcal and is low in fat, saturates, and sugars.

What are capers?

Capers

Capers are a common ingredient and widely recognised, but do we really know what they are? They’re unripened Mediterranean flower buds that grow on the Cappris shrub. They can be quite expensive as they are picked by hand due to their arduous harvesting process, but they’re incredibly versatile, a staple in Italian cuisine, and well-known for their intense salty flavour, which is often used to enhance savoury dishes and balance out any sweetness.

Capers come in different sizes. Baby capers are called ‘nonpareille’ and they are peppercorn-sized, and sizes increase to ‘surfines’, ‘capucines’, capotes’, ‘fines’, and ‘grusas’, with the largest being roughly 14mm wide. Generally, the larger the caper, the more acidic, and the smaller the caper, the more delicate in flavour and texture.

Nonpareille and capucine capers tend to be more readily available in supermarkets and are usually preserved in either brine, vinegar, salt or olive oil. The brine gives capers their sharpest flavour, while the salt or olive oil capers may be found to be more versatile and easier to pair with other ingredients. Due to their powerful taste, they are often used in tartar sauce or alongside cured cold-smoked salmon.

Capers: health benefits

Capers are low in calories but high in fibre and micronutrients like vitamin K, copper, and iron, all of which help promote blood and bone health. However, they are quite high in sodium (salt), so it’s a good idea to give your capers a soak and rinse to remove excess salt.  

Authentic Casa Rinaldi capers

The Casa Rinaldi capers are preserved in salt and, thanks to their aromatic flavour, are a perfect match for meat and fish.

Accompanied with cherry tomatoes and olives, they make an ideal addition to a quick and delicious pasta sauce.

Casa Rinaldi Capers preserved with Salt

 

Quick Tomato and Caper Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan Recipe

Ingredients

400g Casa Rinaldi Bronze Die Linguine

2 tbsp Casa Rinaldi Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Lemon

350g Casa Rinaldi Tomato Passata

5 tbsp Casa Rinaldo Capers preserved with Salt

1 lemon

Parmesan cheese (or vegan alternative)

Handful of fresh herbs, like parsley or basil

Cooking method

  1. Boil the kettle. Cook the linguine in plenty of salted, boiling water for around 10 minutes until al dente.

Top tip: cooking pasta al dente is an Italian golden rule. This prevents the pasta from overcooking and becoming too soft and mushy when cooked further in the sauce.  

2. Add the olive oil to a hot frying pan over a medium heat, followed by the passata and capers. Finely zest the lemon and add half of the zest to the pan.

3. Simmer the passata, capers, and lemon zest for a few minutes until fragrant, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Top tip: don’t forget that capers are quite salty, so be sure not to go overboard on the salt. You may even find that extra salt isn’t needed.

4. Once the pasta is done, drain and add to the tomato, capers, and lemon zest. Toss the pasta through to coat it evenly in the sauce.

Top tip: Preserve some of the cooked pasta water to add to the sauce if you find it’s too thick.

5. Serve with a garnish of grated parmesan, lemon zest and fresh herbs.

Top tip: for some extra sweetness and texture, you could add a few cherry tomato quarters on top.

If you find yourself with leftover pasta water, don’t waste it! Why not give our quick Gluten-free Minestrone soup recipe a go for a flavour-packed and healthy soup?