Cherry Tomato Recipe: Ditalini Pasta with Lemon Oil

Cherry Tomato Recipe: Ditalini Pasta with Lemon Oil

This is not just any old cherry tomato recipe. It’s an absolutely delicious pasta recipe that celebrates the freshness of ripe summer cherry tomatoes, pairs it with a tasty and tantalizing homemade lemon oil, and leaves you wondering where this recipe has been all your life.

What is Ditalini Pasta?

Ditalini is a tiny tubular shaped pasta. It’s name means “little thimbles”. I love it because of its mouth feel. If you have a hard time finding ditalini pasta (I get mine from Semolina Pasta), feel free to use another small pasta in its place.

DIY Lemon Oil 

One of the most delicious (and easiest) parts of this recipe is the homemade lemon oil. It adds an incredible kick of flavor and is so easy to make. In under five minutes, you will have a citrus-y flavored olive oil, with enough left over to use in your next salad dressing.

Cherry Tomato Recipe

Recipes using cherry tomatoes are in high demand in the height of summer, and for good reason! Summer time is tomato time, and whether your tomato plants just won’t stop giving, or you can’t resist those multi-color cherry tomatoes at the market, know that any type of tomato is at home in this recipe! I find this recipe to be a delicious summer lunch, and doubling it makes great leftovers. If you want to use as a side dish, consider serving with burgers.

p.s. In case you hadn’t noticed, I used regular old diced beefsteak tomatoes when I made this recipe to photograph. Moral of the story here: any summer tomato is a good tomato!

cherry tomato recipe

Ditalini with Tomatoes and Lemon Oil

Discover ditalini, which is a tiny pasta shape often used in soups. This easy recipe can be thrown together for picnics, summer bbqs, or just a regular weeknight dinner.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: cherry tomato recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Aliye Aydin


  • fine sea salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives (optional)
  • large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound ditalini pasta or other small pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt to taste
  • black pepper
  • 1 bunch chives


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a couple generous pinches of salt.
  • Using a peeler, peel off thin strips of skin from the lemon. Apply gentle pressure, trying your best to get mostly the yellow skin, and less of the white pith underneath, which has a more bitter flavor. Put 1/4 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm for about 1 minute. Put the lemon peel strips into the warm oil, it should bubble gently when you add them. If not, wait a minute for the oil to get warmer. Take the pan off the heat and set aside once the lemon peel is added. Once the oil cools, strain it and set aside.  
  • Peel and smash garlic clove. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Roughly chop capers; pit and roughly chop olives. 
  • Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot add 2 teaspoons olive oil, followed by garlic clove and red pepper flakes. Swirl pan or stir for 30 seconds to avoid burning garlic. Add tomatoes, capers, and olives. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water until tender, or according to package instructions. Drain pasta and put in large serving bowl. Toss with warm tomato sauce and drizzle with 1-2 Tablespoons of lemon oil (reserve rest of lemon oil for a salad dressing). Season with salt and pepper. Mince chives for garnish and serve immediately. 
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