Thursday, June 24, 2021

Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives & Salami

Looking for a quick & easy dinner that's jam-packed with flavor? Fix this spaghetti recipe in only 30 minutes with simple pantry & fridge ingredients like lemon, olives, salami, sun-dried tomato, artichokes, garlic, butter & Parmesan cheese. If you love savory, salty & tangy food, you'll be in comfort food heaven eating this!

Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives & Salami (Quick & Easy Pasta Recipe with Pantry Ingredients)

I consider this one of my signature dishes. (Right up there with my pumpkin apple muffins, creamy one-pot spaghetti, and chicken hummus naan wraps.

I've made it at least a dozen times over the past 3 years. (I shared it first on Instagram back in 2018.) 

Each time I made a batch, I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly in order to nail down the proper ratios of ingredients. The stars are the olives, salami & lemon so most other things stayed the same. 

Initially, I preferred it extra lemony, but I've toned that part down over the years since my beau isn't quite as fanatical about citrus. I think that was the right decision. After all, I want y'all to enjoy this spaghetti even if you're not obsessed with lemon!

This final version is more balanced, so I'm proud to finally share the recipe with y'all.

However, the main thing I want to emphasize (if you're not already scrolling down to the recipe card), is to use truffle salami if you can find it (see notes below). Holy moly that stuff is AH-MAZING. 1,000% worth it. 

Anyhoo, the beau & I now fondly refer to this dish as "the pasta". He asks me to fix it for holidays & birthdays and gets super excited when I announce I'm making it on a random weeknight. There are never any leftovers and we inhale it super quick. Can you tell we love it? ;)

It's one of those meals that leaves me feeling deeply satisfied. Not in a stuffed to the brim way, but more of a {deep sigh} I just consumed all my favorite things way.

I'm a huge fan of salty & savory foods, so this makes perfect sense. Charcuterie boards on any given day? Yes, please! Or, if I'm being completely honest, a big ol' bag of sour cream & onion kettle chips.

Of course, if you prefer sweet foods, this may not tickle your fancy. Understandable. In that case, make a batch of my double chocolate banana muffins, easy peanut butter balls, or strawberry shortcake milkshakes instead.

Ingredients for Easy Pasta Dinner Recipe with Spaghetti, Lemon, Olives & Salami

Ingredients For This Easy Spaghetti Recipe

The great thing about this recipe is that the ingredients all have a longer shelf life, so you can keep them on hand (stocked in the pantry or fridge) for nights when you want to throw together a quick dinner.

  • Dried Spaghetti: Any variety works, but my favorite right now is capellini or angel hair (the latter is slightly thinner). Use whatever you have on hand, even if it's whole-wheat or gluten-free (Jovial is a good option for the latter). 
  • Salami: I buy logs of salami with the natural casing still on so I can chop them into thicker bite-sized pieces (this adds a lovely chewy texture to the pasta). My absolute favorite is truffle salami. I highly recommend it! Trader Joe's truffle salami (only available in the fall) & Olli's Tartufo are my preferred brands for that particular flavor. Soppressata or any other flavored salami with wine, garlic & black pepper are excellent choices. If you find another good brand that makes truffle salami, please leave a comment below letting us know! 
  • Pitted Kalamata Olives: Grab a jar of pitted kalamata olives in the condiments section (skip the overpriced olive bar). Get the store brand if they have one to save money. Aldi & Trader Joe's have cheap ones that taste equally as good as the big brands.
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes: You'll find this in the same area as the olives. Get a jar packed in extra virgin olive oil if you can. My favorite is from Trader Joe's, as I find their tomatoes have a sweeter flavor.
  • Lemon Juice + Zest: Keep a couple on your counter or pop them in the fridge to extend their shelf life. Don't have a zester? They are so handy! This is my favorite for a finer zest and this one for larger lemon strips (it's what I used for my flavored citrus & herb salt). 
  • Garlic: Grab a head of garlic with some fat cloves. The more the merrier! We love garlic here. 
  • Artichoke Hearts: I buy whole or quartered artichoke hearts canned in water & keep them stocked in my pantry for recipes like this or spinach and artichoke dip. You can use artichokes in olive oil if you prefer (it's just more expensive). 
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: I add this to almost all of my savory recipes for a bit of heat. You can skip it if you want. 
  • Parmesan Cheese: This is a hard, dry cheese so it'll last forever in your fridge if wrapped properly. I buy a wedge of the real stuff (Parmesan Reggiano) and use my Microplane to grate it directly onto foods (like soup or asparagus) for a pop of salty flavor. You can also grab a container of pre-grated or shredded Parmesan cheese in the refrigerated section of most stores.
  • Salt + Pepper: I like to use sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper for finishing my food. Maldon salt, flaky garlic salt & Celtic salt are my favorites right now, although you probably won't need to add much as this recipe has several salty ingredients.

Quick & Easy Dinner: Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives & Salami

How to Make Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives & Salami

While the water comes to a boil, you'll prep the ingredients, then as the pasta cooks, you'll make the sauce. This saves time so you can get the meal done in 30 minutes or less.

  1. Heat Up the Water: Fill a large pot (I use a 5-quart Dutch oven) with water and when it comes to a rolling boil (large rolling bubbles), add at least a tablespoon of salt (this gives the noodles a lot more flavor). 
  2. Prep the Butter Sauce Ingredients: Slice the olives & salami (remove the outer casing first), chop the sun-dried tomatoes (include some of the oil if it's infused in that), zest & juice the lemon, mince the garlic & drain + chop the artichoke hearts. 
  3. Boil the Spaghetti: Add the spaghetti, stir a few times so it doesn't stick together, and cook for the amount of time the package recommends or until it's tender to your liking. 
  4. Cook the Sauce: While the spaghetti is cooking, combine all the ingredients in a skillet on the stove. You'll cook the salami first with a little bit of butter to render out some of the fat (adds great flavor) and crisp it up. Then you'll add olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic and cook that for a few minutes until it's fragrant (make sure it doesn't burn). Next add the lemon zest, lemon juice, artichokes & red pepper flakes to let them warm up in the butter. Finally, melt in more butter to form the base of the sauce and turn off the heat.
  5. Reserve Some Cooking Water & Drain The Pasta: Before draining the pasta, use a measuring cup or coffee mug to scoop up 1 cup of the starchy cooking water and set that aside. We'll add it to the cooked pasta next to form a loose sauce. 
  6. Toss the Cooked Pasta, Butter Sauce, Pasta Water & Cheese Together: Add the pasta, butter sauce, half of the reserved pasta water & cheese back to the pot and toss well to combine. Add the other half of the pasta water & a few tablespoons of olive oil and toss well again so all the noodles are coated with the sauce + chopped ingredients. 
  7. Taste For Seasoning & Serve Warm: Taste the spaghetti and, if desired, add some salt & pepper or extra lemon juice or lemon zest if you like a stronger citrus flavor (tangy & bright). Serve immediately while warm with some crusty garlic bread for a cozy meal. 

TIP: If you don't mind waiting an extra 10 minutes, you could technically make this all in one pot by fixing the sauce in the same pot you cooked the pasta after the water is drained out; however, I'm too impatient for that! But if you hate extra dishes that much, by all what makes you happy.

Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives & Salami (Easy 30 Minute Dinner Recipe)

More Easy Dinner Recipes You'll Love:

spaghetti with olives, spaghetti with lemon, spaghetti with salami, simple spaghetti recipe
main dish
Yield: 2-3 servings
Author: Elaina Newton - The Rising Spoon
Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives & Salami

Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives & Salami

Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 30 Min
Looking for a quick & easy pasta to make that's jam-packed with flavor? Fix this spaghetti recipe in only 30 minutes with simple pantry & fridge ingredients. If you love savory, salty & tangy food, you'll be in comfort food heaven eating this for dinner!


  • 8 ounces of dried spaghetti (regular, thin, or angel hair)
  • 5 tablespoons of salted butter, divided
  • 4 ounces of salami, sliced & quartered (see notes below)
  • 2/3 cup of pitted & sliced kalamata olives (or sub mixed olives from a jar - see notes below)
  • 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes in olive oil, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest + extra for topping
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (from 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 6 medium cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 (14 oz) can of artichoke hearts in water, drained & chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese + extra for topping
  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season the water generously with salt (1-2 tablespoons), add dried spaghetti, and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente or tender to your liking. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the rest.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salami and cook 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to render its fat and get slightly crispy. 
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, artichokes, and crushed red pepper, then cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, cook until the butter has melted, then turn off the heat.
  4. Add the drained spaghetti back to the large pot, dump the contents of the skillet over it, along with 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and the parmesan cheese. Use tongs or two large forks to toss the spaghetti so it's well coated and the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add another 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water + 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to incorporate.
  5. Taste and if needed, add extra salt, pepper, lemon juice, or lemon zest. Serve immediately with desired toppings (optional) like olive oil, Parmesan, or chopped fresh Parsley.


SALAMI: I prefer to use logs of salami that are still wrapped in their natural casing so I can slice them into thicker pieces. You can find them in the deli section of most grocery stores (refrigerated or unrefrigerated). My favorite is truffle salami (flavored with black truffles). It's available year-round from a brand called Olli (look for Tartufo on the package) or in the fall months at Trader Joe's (they have their own version). Soppressata is another good option if you enjoy a bit of heat or any salami with wine, garlic & black pepper in it. If I have pre-sliced salami in my fridge, I'll sometimes add a bit of that (about 1 ounce) along with the thicker salami, which is what I did in the pictures today.

OLIVES: I recommend pitted Kalamata olives for the best flavor, but you can also substitute mixed olives (typically a blend of black & green) that have vinegar, wine, and/or herbs mixed in. I don't recommend canned black or green olives (also called American or California olives) for this particular recipe. Those are super mild and we want a stronger tangy + briny flavor in the pasta.

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Looking for a quick & easy dinner that's jam-packed with flavor? Fix this spaghetti recipe in only 30 minutes with simple pantry & fridge ingredients like lemon, olives, salami, sun-dried tomato, artichokes, garlic, butter & Parmesan cheese. If you love savory, salty & tangy food, you'll be in comfort food heaven eating this!

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