Garbage Pail Pasta – Pasta from the Pantry – Vegetarian style

What a name for a most delicious pasta dish. The recipe comes from Arthur Schwartz’s cookbook , “The Southern Italian  Table” , I actually saw it in an article from the Wall Street Journal of all places.  It contains 13 simple ingredients that are put together. It contains 3 kinds of nuts, but I only had 2 and that worked out just as well. My family was here and Kerri being a vegetarian , I am always on the lookout for new and exciting vegetarian recipes. If there is an ingredient that you really don’t like , take it out. I was trying to think of substitutions for what we had , I wanted to keep it vegetarian but I suppose you could substitute anchovies ( chopped finely) for capers, you need the salt and bite of the capers, and I suppose anchovies could do the trick. The olives add salt, and I chopped them up good as well, because Joel would probably not touch it if he knew they were in there. The raisins add sweetness and use the golden ones, they will look better.  Kerri doesn’t love olives and she loved it. My son in-law Brian kept eating it out of the fridge, and so did Kerri and Jenn.  So it got the family seal of approval and I will definitley make it again. You can experiment with other pasta, but I prefer just plain spaghetti, not too thick and not too thin. I also changed around quantities of a few ingredients to my liking, so feel free to do so.  It’s really a “whatever you have in the pantry ” kind of pasta.  Cooks rather quickly , and very tasty. ( like you’re in Italy)

It was bound to happen that the photos of this dish got erased, so sorry I only have the one of me cooking , it’ll have to do.


4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon finely chopped walnuts

1 Tablespoon whole pine nuts ( Pignoli)

1 Tablespoon finely chopped hazelnuts ( I didn’t have so I doubled up on Pignoli, and everyone loved it)

3 Tablespoons raisins ( use golden ones)

1 rounded tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped

1 Package of Grape Tomatoes diced ( you can use cherry tomatoes as well) original only called for 1/4 cup but I used whole package, and it was wonderful)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

6 small black olives ( preferably Gaeta) pitted and coarsely chopped

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt for cooking pasta,  plus more to taste. Be careful with the salt, add as needed.

8 ounce box of Spaghetti ( use whatever kind you like best or have in pantry) I always use Spaghetti or Perciatelli

Parmesan Cheese for topping if you so desire


In a 9 or 10 inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat, when hot , add nuts and saute until pine nuts become lightly colored.

Add raisins, capers, and tomatoes. Cook , stir frequently, for at least 5 minutes ( tomatoes will start to break down)

Add oregano, parsley, and olives. Stir well, Cook for a few minutes, Salt to taste. Set aside. I actually let it sit in pan on hot stove for a while till I was ready to mix in pasta. It really broke down nicely, the longer it sat.

Boil spaghetti in at least 3 quarts of water with a heaping tablespoon of salt. When cooked, drain well. I saved a cup of pasta water, in the event pasta came out to dry, I used a little of it. It’s not imperative but I always do that with “sauceless pastas”

Toss pasta with seasonings  over low heat until well mixed. I then put in a large bowl and continued mixing and added a bit of the pasta water . It was perfection.

If desired, serve with grated cheese ( I desired)

2 responses to “Garbage Pail Pasta – Pasta from the Pantry – Vegetarian style

  1. I used it on toasted baguettes as a “bruchetta” appetizer and it was GREAT!

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