Just because you cook pasta doesn’t mean you have to cook the pasta sauce. For a light pasta dish, toss warm pasta with cool ingredients that include juicy chopped ripe tomatoes and bright flavors like olives and capers. The warm pasta soaks up all the flavors. A little Mermaid Farm feta and lots of fresh basil make this a meal.

While this is great with summer tomatoes, I've made it with juicy cherry tomatoes (not grape tomatoes) during the winter and it's a delicious. Leftovers make a great lunch to take to the office.   

Randi Baird


Serves 4


  • 1/4 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups diced ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 2 medium-large tomatoes, cored, but not seeded or skinned, any juices included)
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
  • ¼ cup slivered or chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup (packed) torn basil leaves
  • 8 ounces gemelli or other twisty or curly shaped pasta


1. In a large, wide, mixing bowl, whisk or stir together the olive oil, the orange juice, the capers, lemon juice, the lemon zest, the garlic, the honey, the red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds of fresh pepper. Add the tomatoes, the olives, the sundried tomatoes, the feta, and half of the basil. Toss well. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.


2. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain well in a colander but do not rinse. Transfer the warm pasta to the mixing bowl with the tomatoes. Season the pasta directly with a big pinch of salt, add most of the remaining basil, and toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.  


3. Transfer to a large shallow serving bowl or three individual bowls or plates. Garnish with any remaining basil and eat warm.


To make this in winter, use juicy cherry tomatoes and parsley in place of the beefsteaks and basil.