Fresh tomato and olive tortiglioni

I’m often asked about kitchen essentials and meals for the time-poor, and this recipe answers both queries. I always have pasta and extra virgin olive oil in the cupboard; parmesan, olives, parsley and bacon in the fridge; and a bowl of lemons and ripening tomatoes on the kitchen bench. With these simple ingredients on hand, you can whip up a delicious meal in minutes.


  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 10 pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 15 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 200 g (7 oz) tortiglioni or penne pasta
  • 35 g ( oz/ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil


Put the chopped tomatoes in a bowl along with the sea salt, olives, basil and parsley. Stir gently to ensure all the tomato pieces are well seasoned, then set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, then drain the pasta and return to the warm pan.

Add the parmesan and olive oil to the pasta and stir to combine, then add the tomato mixture. Season with freshly ground black pepper, toss together and then divide between two warmed pasta bowls.