Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

Fool me every. single. time….?


Obviously I’m talking about trying to lick sugar that I’ve just boiled into a golden amber creamy caramelly oblivion off of a wooden spoon.  And saying to myself, “Oh! It can’t be that hot.”

Really. It can.

All 5000 times that I’ve done it.  It can.


So now that I have blisters where my taste buds used to be…

…and am all hyperactive from the caramel I proceeded to successfully eat (taste buds be damned!).

Let’s talk about pasta!

Do you ever have nights where you just want to go home and

Cook dinner in less than ninety minutes.  Watch five too many episodes of Whitney.  And go to bed early so you can run 10 miles in the morning.

I had one of those on Friday!  And so I made this pasta.  Not only did it only take me 45 minutes (which means it will take a normal person at most twenty), but it had flavors coming at me from every angle – briny olives, toasted pine nuts, sweet plump raisins, salty capers, and so many shades of green leafy entities that I was beside myself with glee.

I am really sad I ate the last of it for lunch yesterday.  Not only because it was delicious…but also because given the current state of my tongue…this flavor explosion in a bowl is probably the only thing I had even a prayer of being able to taste today.



I almost left my long run up to chance this weekend.  You can do that with a shorter run, just throw it into your day on a whim.  But 10 miles?  10 miles requires preparation.  It requires you to eat the perfect breakfast, get the perfect night’s sleep, do each and every one of your tried and true stretches before heading out.  It requires you to not go out with your roommate the night before.  It requires you to not say “I’ll wait until Sunday, when the weather will be nicer even though I’ll have had a jam-packed Saturday full of standing and beer and pizza and a boy.”  It requires a whole 24 hours of dedication.

And even then, with all these things done to perfection, something can go wrong.

Or not.  Sometimes everything can go right.

The weather, which was supposed to be rain rain rain and cold cold cold might really just be misty and balmy and actually quite perfect (especially when you’re decked out in completely waterproof running gear).  Your legs might feel better than they have since the half marathon you ran three weeks ago.  You might come out of that 10 miles thinking, “damn.  I could have run 3.1 more.”

Which…is a good thing considering that in a week and a half you will be running 3.1 more.  I’ve jam-packed my spring with half marathons which means that training will be my life until June…when I have to start marathon training.  So really.  It will just be my life. Period.

But if we’re being honest.  I thrive off of it.  It gives me something to strive for.  A goal.

I kind of love being able to say “sorry, I can’t.  I have to run.”  Even though it may be onerous and inconvenient at times.  While I’m out there, in a zone, doing it.  It’s worth it.

I’m pretty sure the same goes for any kind of exercise or hobby or thing that you’re passionate about (how often do I say “sorry, I can’t. I have to blog.”  Often.)  Moral of the story being, I think.  It might take effort and energy and sacrifice and dedication.  But you should always make time for the things you love.  Always.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Raisins
Serves 4, adapted from Ottolenghi via Vegetarian Times April/May 2012


  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (1/2 lb)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 large green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 8 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 11 oz mixed greens (I used a blend from Whole Foods with kale, collards, mustard greens, spinach and swiss chard)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  1. Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for at least 5 minutes or until raisins are tender and plump.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the pine nuts and saute for about 2 minutes or until starting to brown.  Add the tomato, sugar, and salt to the pan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Stir in the olives, capers, white wine vinegar, and raisins.  Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water.  About three minutes before it’s done, add in the greens.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.  Add the pasta and greens back to the pot and stir in the sauce.  Add in the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic.  Stir in the pasta water, a tbsp at a time, if the pasta looks dry.  Season with salt and black pepper.

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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91 Responses to Pasta with Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Raisins {}

  1. You are too funny. I always forget to make pasta, but seeing dishes like this one makes me want to do it more often! And when it comes to tasty leftovers, I totally get sad when they’re gone… 🙁

  2. Louisa says:

    I must confess, I hate olives.

    I do, however, love the idea of running. The practice, not so much. My knees are totally shot.

  3. Simply Life says:

    oooh I have most of these ingredients in the pantry right now- thanks! looks great!

  4. Hotly Spiced says:

    Oh, poor you. It’s just awful when you scorch your tongue. I’ve done it many a time too and usually when I’m tasting something in the kitchen. Hope you’re all better now! And the pasta looks sensational. I’ll have to try this xx

  5. That is so funny, I just did that YESTERDAY! I made granola bars with a cooked caramel like sauce to pour over them and made the mistake of trying to grab some with my fingers. I thought the same thing, “It can’t be THAT hot!” Duh, melted butter and sugar = hot. Hurt my fingers but at least the taste buds are intact!

    Love the pasta!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    So true, if you love it you’ll make time for it. Good for you! Exciting you have so many half marathons lined up.

  7. Love this! Love this! Love olives with nuts and love this! Wow- you are going to be one busy runner! Good luck on all your runs and hey run one for me would ya!

  8. london bakes says:

    What a lovely combination of flavours and textures, this sounds like such an exciting pasta dash!

  9. Raisins are not used nearly enough in savory dishes like this! Great call!

  10. AH I burnt my hand on hot caramel the other day… yikes for how that would feel on the tongue!

  11. Those delicious nasty caramel. Hot water, soup and stews don’t hurt as bad even though we heat on the same stove at the same temperature. Ignoring the science of temperature, I think its a sign that we should eat/drink less caramel and more soup:)

  12. Adrienne says:

    You know me some green olives, raisins and carbs and I’m on board 😀 I love the last bit of this post too. It’s so easy to make excuses in life, but you really should make time for the things you love. Btw you’re a beast for running all these races. Mad props.

  13. Lora says:

    I’ve never had raisins in my pasta. This I have to try. Love the green olive and pine nuts. Yum!

  14. the last month for me has been one big “get it done” feeling. glad i’m not alone 🙂

    and now i want some rigatoni.

    xo alison

  15. Big Dude says:

    That looks really good Joanne (less the raisins for me) and I especially like the greens you tossed in.

  16. Lol, you make me laugh! Wow, raisins in it, that different, but it looks amazing!!

  17. Ben says:

    It’s hot every single time! Just ask my sister. She didn’t cook, but was always around in time to try to lick the caramel my mom had just made for flans or other desserts. We always laughed and she never learned, hehe. I love this past dish, btw 🙂

  18. It is hot every single time…I know I am a flan maker….this pasta looks wonderful the addition of the capes and olives…mmm my jind of meal..

  19. This is my kind of pasta dish! So sad that Eric doesn’t like cooked olives… or capers. I don’t know why I married the man. 🙂

  20. SallyBR says:

    You got me on the raisins/currants. Never thought of adding to pasta, but hey, they are great in caponata and I think caponata over pasta would be perfect before a half marathon! 😉

    We used to adjust our life all around the long runs every third weekend in preparation for the marathon, and would never go out and drink the evening before, all our friends knew and understood our little “idiosyncrasies” – it is wonderful to have a goal and work towards it. More power to you!

  21. Almost like a healthy puttanseca or however it’s spelled. LOVE olives, love them so so much. I’d sub peanuts for pine nuts because they’re not my fave, but otherwise this is super delish 🙂

  22. Just not sure about raisins and pasta! Over rice I’d have no problem. I have preconceived notions about pasta I guess!

  23. Amy says:

    Do I ever have nights where I just want to go home and get it done? Every friggin’ day! Except I like it under 60 thankyouverymuch…and followed by Big Bang Theory. RE: caramel – I have more issues with burning the actual caramel than I do my tongue. Some things will take a lifetime to learn.

  24. kelsey says:

    this looks supppperrrrr yummy. i keep imagining it with a fried egg on top for some reason.

    love hearing about your running! i live vicariously through you! 🙂

  25. Ranjani says:

    I love the combination of flavors in this! Looks wonderful

  26. Okay. I had to laugh…because I’ve done – and continue to do…the same thing. Over and over and over again. Sometimes it’s my tongue, sometimes it’s my finger. A couple of times I’ve forced myself (literally) NOT to try it. But more often than not, I do. I love the in-you-face flavors in this pasta. I want to eat it up!

  27. Laura says:

    Your writing is the best Joanne–oh and your recipes too of course!

  28. oh noesss…. normally my victim is my finger…. T_T

  29. Margarita says:

    I love your dedication! And I love this pasta! I wish I could run as much as you can, but my body just breaks every time I do.

  30. Allison says:

    This looks amazing! You never disappoint, love your blog!

  31. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble preparing for Saturday long runs! It’s a constant struggle, but worth it. The pasta looks delish, by the way.

  32. I’ve made things similar to this before – I love the combination of salty olives and capers, sweet raisins and toasty pine nuts. Reminds me of aubergine caponata, or other Sicilian dishes. Have you ever tried cauliflower and currants with pasta and capers? So good!

  33. Jenn Kendall says:

    this looks fantastic! i so want to make this dish soon!!

  34. Rachel S says:

    WOW!Yammy! I`m so hungry!

  35. Katie says:

    Oh, I do that every single time too. I can’t help myself. I always expect it to be cooler than it really is. This pasta sounds fantastic, and I love the abundance of greens you’ve filled it with.

  36. Dawn says:

    Pasta, Pine nuts and raisins – excellent mix if I do say so.

  37. I hate when I do that!! After burning my tastebuds I never seem to give up either. It sucks the big one. On another note, this dish looks fab! Love the look of that thick pasta. Can’t wait to try!

  38. Donna says:

    A tongue is an essential tool of the trade for food bloggers. Heal soon!

  39. Christina says:

    This pasta dish looks incredible. I wouldn’t have thought to add raisins, but it would counter the saltier flavors rather well.

    What half are you running?

  40. Eileen says:

    Wow, what an interesting combination! I’m excited to see raisins creeping into more savory cooking–I wonder if the medieval-style agrodolce thing is one of the next food trends?

  41. Kristen says:

    Can’t tell you how many times I have burned my tongue licking off spoons, too. I think it goes with the territory.

    Tomatoes, pine nuts and raisins and GREEN OLIVES sounds like the most wonderful part of a meal.

  42. You go girl! Working towards a goal is so much better for improving my own work-outs. 🙂

  43. Reeni says:

    I love the mix of flavors here and how fast it is to throw together! I don’t think I’ve ever had raisins in pasta but I like the idea. Your dedication to running is inspiring!

  44. OohLookBel says:

    Raisins in pasta?!? Sounds delicious! I’m sure the lovely flavours of this dish will overcome any burned-off tastebuds you may have =)

  45. Christine says:

    You come up with such delicious combinations!
    I usually burn my tongue on hot cocoa in the winter…smells so good, I can’t wait.

  46. Haha, I totally burn my tongue on ALL hot foods. You’d think by this point I’d have a heat-resistant tongue! Too bad it doesn’t work that way. This looks awesome as usual 🙂

  47. Megan says:

    Love the mixture of flavors in here! I always get pasta cravings… will have to add this to the list!

  48. kyleen says:

    I’m a sucker for caramel too. I figure that since it’s been cooling on the counter for ten minutes, it must be fine to lick the spoon, right?

    This pasta looks so good! How do you come up with all these delicious combinations?!

  49. Marcia says:

    Oooh, that looks delicious. And tonight was one of those nights where I cooked dinner in minutes. Spaghetti with “blender sauce” of soy sauce, cashews, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, red papper flakes, rice vinegar, water, and cilantro. Cook spaghetti, add sauce. Throw together a salad.

  50. Johanna GGG says:

    I am hopeless at quick dinners – best I can do is leftovers which are mercifully quick – but I think that pasta is a great way of doing quick – and satisfying! And lots of leftovers of that pasta sounds like just what I want in my fridge on a bad night

  51. sophia says:

    Who can resist licking bubbling caramel? I sure can’t!

    Glad your running is going well…but don’t sacrifice your social life, though, Joanne! I don’t think anything’s worth sacrificing hanging out with friends and family who love you.

  52. Pam says:

    “Always make time for things you love” – words to live by!!!

    I love the combination of flavors in your sauce… it looks and sounds wonderful!

  53. Dining Alone says:

    You are always so funny. Good job doing what you love, even if its not always the easiest choice.

  54. MyFudo™ says:

    Happens to me all the time. Fooled by my senses, or fooled by my excitement…
    This looks great! Must try!

  55. Mary says:

    I really love the way this sounds. It just been moved to my must try list. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  56. tigerfish says:

    Pine nuts and raisins, I will try to add that to my pasta next time. Sounds good!

  57. Hahaha, yup, gets me every time! And now I’m going to be waiting with baited breath to see what caramelly goodness you have come up with this time. In the mean time, oy, you are giving me some mega healthy pasta cravings. I’m really digging all the green you have going on here. And I’m glad you make time for the things you love, because we (your readers) love that you do them too. 🙂

  58. Nicole, RD says:

    I would never ever think to combine most of those ingredients, but suddenly, it’s all I want to do! YUM!

  59. Guru Uru says:

    This pasta is truly gourmet – what a delicious twist on awesome ingredients 😀

    Happy Easter 😀
    Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself

  60. Cathleen says:

    Haha, your post made me smile. My taste buds are also burnt from making perogies last night. They just looked too good!
    But this looks simply divine. I love the addition of olives. I am olive’s number one fan 🙂

  61. Debbie says:

    Looks delicious Joanne. I can do raisins if they are cooked and nice and soft or of course if they are covered in chocolate!!!!

  62. sally says:

    That is one good-looking pasta dish! Love all of those ingredients.

  63. I have a lot of pine nuts that I used for other cooking, but since this is something I don’t normally use, I didn’t know what to do with them. I love how you used it for pasta and this is definitely some pasta that my family would enjoy! Beautiful pictures and recipe!

  64. That Girl says:

    I don’t have the tongue problem, but I definitely have the problem with my fingers – touching hot water, caramel, sauces. I don’t know why I substitute my finger for a thermometer.

  65. Miriam says:

    First of all, that pasta is something I could totally fall in love with. Secondly, for being such an awesome runner, you go girl!! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  66. Loveforfood says:

    Your recipe sounds so much more flavorful!!

  67. Your pasta dish sounds great. I do something similar but without the greens…I can’t wait to try this. Love the color!

  68. I thought I hated olives for pretty much all my life, but I recently had them in a sandwich and it was pretty darn good! I haven’t actually tried cooking with them since then because I’m still a little nervous, but they do add a ton of flavour to dishes, so this is a good reminder to try them sometime!

  69. Holly says:

    I love all the colors and textures going on in this pasta! Sounds wonderful!

  70. Nicole says:

    Saying yes to this pasta. saying no to burning of the taste buds!! (and to running ten miles in the morning) but good luck!!

  71. Yeah, I don’t think I can run 10 miles no matter how much preparation there is. I did 5 miles on Monday with a very light breakfast and I think I just downright died. Maybe I should have prepared myself better.

    Anyway, I’m totally in love with this pasta dish. You come up with such great dishes, chockfull of healthy goodies, which is exactly what I need since Jason is not home. I don’t think I can get away with eating stuff like this when he comes back into town!

  72. Katerina says:

    Be committed to a hobby or a sport is really something for which you should be proud. Especially if you do it because it speaks to your heart, it makes you happy. This pasta is definitely the meal for me and if it is prepared in so little time then it also gives me more time to blog!

  73. Jeanette says:

    I love the sound of this pasta dish. Can’t wait for the farmer’s market to open so I can grab some fresh greens.

  74. I hate when that happens! Ouchy! What a beautiful pasta dish. I love greens in pasta and a puttanesca sauce is my very favorite!

  75. Hannah says:

    I do actually have golden raisins on hand, but I’m having trouble convincing myself that I want to throw them into a savory dish… This does look good though, and I trust your food judgement, so I may just take the plunge. I can see how the sweet and acidic and savory elements would work together, it’s just that ingrained bias against dried fruits in savory dishes pushing back!

  76. daphne says:

    What a great idea to combine raisins with pasta and spinach. I could only imagine how tasty this is!

  77. You’re so healthy Joanne!! I think it’s wonderful that you’re so disciplined with running! And I totally understand what you mean! Often enough people will frown upon hobbies they don’t quite agree with or habits that they find “too extreme”! But you’re right! We should always make time for the things we love! 🙂

  78. Lori says:

    That is the worst burn! I do it all the time too. This would be a huge hit here. Love dishes with lots of olives!

  79. Mary says:

    This looks delicious! I haven’t made a pasta dish is quite a while and this one is making me hungry! I love that you are back to running and loving it all over again. Have a great Easter weekend!

  80. oh yes I know what u mean! Seriously sometimes I just want to eat something awesome but without much troubel. Thats a pasta dish which I ll introduce to my husband one of these days. He has become a real pasta lover in the past months. thanks for sharing!

  81. What a nice mix of briny, salty and sweet all in one little neat pasta dish. Lovely combo Joanne!

  82. I was so excited to see Ottolenghi featured in the new VT issue and I tagged this recipe to make. I think it might have to move up the pile after seeing yours. 😉 So many great flavors and ingredients.

  83. Patsyk says:

    not only does that recipe look amazing… but, what you said about making your run or whatever you are passionate about a priority was so true! I’ve had to take a step back to regroup before jumping back to my blog, and now I’m at the point of setting aside the time I need to write again, as I intended to in the first place.

  84. vianney says:

    olives, pinenuts and raisins…what a power packed dish! so true about makeing time for the things you love, your amazing!!

  85. Ah, this dish is right up my alley! Love.

  86. Shannon says:

    sounds wonderful! and so glad the stars aligned for a good 10mi 😉 now I want some pasta…

  87. Chris says:

    I love the briny kiss of olives and I know I’d like this dish. Yeah, I have ADD in the kitchen and like you, can stretch a 30 minute meal into a good hour.

  88. Kerstin says:

    Ah, what a great sentiment. I tend to say yes to everything, and need to get better about me time 🙂 Lovely pasta dish too!

  89. Kevin says:

    You have some really nice flavour combinations going on here!

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