Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Capers

As anyone with teenagers will know, pasta is a basic staple in the pantry. But a simple pasta dish can be turned into an elegant serving entree with a few healthy and special additions.

One of those 'bring along' one dish meals that can easily be converted to a 'cold dish' if dinner is delayed or you are serving buffet style....picnic anyone? For a healthier version use whole wheat pasta. Remember...fresh, fresh, fresh makes these summer dishes beautiful and 'alive' with colour and taste.

  • 15 sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup very hot water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin of course for better flavour!)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves (minced)....or less if you are not a garlic lover
  • 3 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained (you can omit but you compromise on flavour guaranteed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped thyme or basil (in summer...use the fresh just calls out to be used with this recipe...)
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon (don't use if using basil - You want the Basil to dominate)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • salt (I use NO SALT - by the way...that IS a product)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley ( don't go overboard with the parsley - 1/2 cup is enough for this amount of pasta.)
  • grated parmesan cheese (fresh please!!!)

  1. Start your water boiling for your pasta.
  2. Place the chopped sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover them with the very hot water. Set aside
  3. Heat the oil and saute the onions on a medium heat, covered for about 3 minutes or until just translucent.
  4. Chop the fresh tomatoes and set them aside.
  5. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, reserving the liquid and add to onions. Stir in garlic, capers and basil (or thyme and tarragon)
  6. Add fresh chopped tomatoes, peas and reserved sun-dried tomato liquid. Saute, covered only until the tomatoes soften and lose their shape. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  7. Stir penne into the boiling water. Cover and return to boil. Then uncover and cook the pasta until al dente. (Somehow I had never learned the importance of 'al dente' until my later years of cooking. Al Dente is an Italian phrase meaning "to the tooth," used to describe pasta or other food that is cooked only until it offers a slight resistance).

In a large warmed serving bowl (if you are serving this warm - and I do recommend warming your bowls if you have a pasta dish with minimal sauce) toss the hot pasta with the sauce and stir in the chopped parsley. Top with the fresh parmasen and serve immediately (if serving warm). I'm making this ahead for a main dish salad supper dish...will post a pic later when it is served.


  1. I love how I have everything in my pantry at this moment for this dish. . I have a jar of capers just hanging out. . I can't remember what I bought them for but I found the perfect recipe right here. . thank you.

  2. I am missing so many of the ingredients to make this dish but it sure looks like a winner!
    Did you make this today Trish?

  3. I'm a new reader and haven't commented before, but I just had to chime in. Great recipe--but what hooked me was the photo. Gorgeous.

    Mennonite girls can (apparently) take great food photos, too. I find that very difficult.

    Any hints on how you all get such great pictures?

  4. yeppers...bright and early! SIGH! AND....those wonderful chocolate chip cookies that Lovella posted the other day...what was I thinking...WHEWIE it is hot in the kitchen of Trish...grin. But hey, nothing but the best for my guy's lunches this coming week.

  5. that looks FANTASTIC. I think I'll make it tomorrow. I love how easy it is, and the emphasis on fresh veggies. Yum!