This summer pasta recipe is a pure treat of different layers of flavors and a perfectly refreshing and slightly spicy pasta dish for summertime. Cherry tomatoes or tomatoes in general are by far my favorite seasonal ingredient during the warmer summer months.
These small cherry tomatoes, but also Datterino tomatoes, due to their size, are sweet, have a more concentrated tomato flavor, and are incredibly juicy. Together with the other ingredients, I created a fresh summer pasta recipe that covers the most common flavors we can taste:
- Salty: Olives, Parmesan, Salt
- Sour: Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon
- Bitter: Parsley Stems, garlic
- Umami: Parmesan, Cherry Tomatoes
- Sweet: Cherry / Datterino Tomatoes, garlic
- Cool/Hot: Peperoncino Chili Cream
For me, a great summer pasta recipe should be both, rather light and refreshing but still flavorful with different aromas. Also, the spicy component provides a slight punch and helps us to cool our bodies down during the hot summer months.
Ingredients for my fresh summer pasta recipe
As mentioned above, I opted for rather light but flavorful ingredients that cover all the taste elements humans can perceive. For a special fresh touch and some punchiness, I’m using fresh lemon juice, herbs as well as Italian peperoncino cream.
Cherry or Datterino tomatoes for more concentrated tomato flavors, fruitiness, sweetness, and the umami taste we are craving for.
I’m using fresh egg Tagliatelle or Taglierini. This thin pasta shape takes up a lot of the thin and juicy sauce and looks pretty good together with the other ingredients. For sure you can take any other pasta on your liking.
- Peperoncino Cream
Crema di Peperoncini (hot pepper cream) is the secret ingredient in this dish. It offers some pleasant spiciness and a slight paprika taste.
- Black Olives
Black Olives are adding a tangy and salty element and some more umami.
As a base aromatic for the olive oil / the sauce emulsified from the oil and the pasta water.
The fresh and herbal component, which not only looks great but also tastes amazing.
The lemon juice offers the main layer of freshness, adds acidity to the sauce, and also vitamins.
- Pine Nuts
These wonderful, but rather expensive nuts offer an unmistakable flavor that cannot be replicated by any other ingredient. Pine nuts are full of oil, rather butter-soft, and packed with minerals and antioxidants.
Probably the number one ingredient to top up and enhance any pasta dish! Parmesan cheese has a lot of salty umami flavors that are lifting up almost any dish.
How to make a great summer pasta
These are the steps on how to make this spicy pasta at home. This summer pasta is pretty easy to make and I’m a fan of recipes where most of the ingredients can be prepared beforehand with a mise en place. The exact amount of ingredients, depending on your desired number of servings, can be found in the recipe below.
Preparing the Ingredients
- Cut the garlic into fine stripes
- Half the Cherry Tomatoes or Datterino Tomatoes
- Roughly chop the olives
- Separate the Parsley stems from the leaves. Finely cut the stems and for the leaves, give them a rough chop.
- Press and roll the Lemon on the countertop to break the membranes and loosen the juice in the lemon. Cut the lemon in half to squeeze it later.
- Grate the parmesan beforehand or freshly grate it onto the pasta at the end.
- Toast the pine nuts in a pan at medium-low heat for a few minutes until they turn slightly golden. Be sure to keep tossing and moving the nuts so they won’t burn.
Cook the Pasta
While cooking the pasta, you can prepare the fresh pasta sauce below in the meantime.
Cook the pasta for just 1-2 minutes less than written on the packaging or a little less than al dente. The pasta will finish cooking for 1-2 minutes in the sauce then. For this summer pasta recipe, you can take whatever pasta type or shape you like. I like to take fresh egg Tagliatelle or Taglierini as they take lots of the juicy light sauce and because I also like the look of them together with all the other ingredients.
Preparing the fresh summer pasta sauce
While preparing the sauce you can already cook the pasta at the same time. Otherwise, you can put the sauce aside when it’s finished and warm it up again just before the pasta is ready.
- Put some good-quality olive oil in a preheated pan
- Add the garlic and parsley stems and fry at low heat for 2-3 minutes
- Add the tomatoes and olives and fry at medium-low heat for about 4-5 minutes until they turn soft
- Put a pinch of salt and pepper
- Add the Crema di Peperoncino Cream according to your desired sharpness. Keep simmering for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the pasta and also add some of the pasta water. Mix together until you get a slight emulsion from the oil and pasta water.
- Squeeze in fresh lemon juice and add the parsley leaves (keep some for decoration). Cook for 1-2 minutes at low heat until the pasta is ready.
Serving the Summer Pasta
Divide the pasta among the plates. Top up with some grated parmesan cheese, parsley leaves, the roasted pine nuts. Finally, sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil for finishing.
Here are some other Pasta Recipes worth trying!
- One of the most aromatic Italian Pasta Dishes: Pasta alla Puttanesca
- The most underrated Roman pasta dish: Pasta alla Gricia
Light and Fresh Summer Pasta Recipe
- 200 grams egg tagliatelle / Taglierini or other pasta shape
- 300 grams Cherry tomatoes / Datterino tomatoes
- 80 grams black olives (pitted)
- 2 tsp Peperoncino Cream (crema di peperoncini)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- ½ lemon
- 1 handful parmesan cheese
- 1 handful flat-leave parsley
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Preparation (mise en place)
- Cut the garlic cloves into thin slices2 cloves garlic
- half the cherry / datterino tomatoes300 grams Cherry tomatoes / Datterino tomatoes
- Pit the olives (if they're not already) and give them a rough chop80 grams black olives (pitted)
- Separate the parsley stems from the leaves. Finely chop the stems and for the leaves, cut into rough peaces.1 handful flat-leave parsley
- Roll the lemon on the kitchen board to break the membrans in the lemon which will help to get more of the lemon juice out of the lemon. Cut the lemon in half to squeeze it later.½ lemon
- If not using pre-grated parmesan, finely grate the parmesan-cheese with a microplane.1 handful parmesan cheese
- Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan at low heat for some minutes until they turn slightly golden. Keep tossing and moving them around so they won't burn. When they get too dark and are burnt they will turn bitter and unpleasent.2 tbsp pine nuts
Cooking the Pasta
- You can make the sauce while cooking the pasta or make the pasta after the sauce if finished.Cook the pasta 1-2 less than written on the packaging as the pasta will finish cooking together with the sauce later.200 grams egg tagliatelle / Taglierini
Making the summer pasta sauce
- Put some olive oil in a preheated frying pan3 tbsp olive oil
- add the garlic and parsley stems and fry at low heat for 1-2 minutes
- add the black olives and tomatoes and fry at medium-low heat until the tomatoes get soft and you get a juicy sauce.
- season with some salt and pepper1 pinch salt, 1 pinch pepper
- add the peperoncino cream. I like to use 1 tsp per person, as this gives a good punch put still not too much heat. If you like it less spicy you can add less of the paste.2 tsp Peperoncino Cream (crema di peperoncini)
- add the pasta to the sauce and also add some of the pasta water. Mix together until you've a juicy, runny and slightly creamy sauce from the emulsion of the olive oil, tomato juice an pasta water.
- add fresh lemon juice and parsley leaves (keep some for decoration). Mix together and keep simmering for 1-2 minutes until the pasta is ready.
Serving the Pasta
- Distribute the pasta onto the plates and sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Add some parsley for decoration, add the pine nuts and finally sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy your lovely fresh summer pasta dish!