Simple is as simple does. Or, in this case, simple is as pasta does, given how a mere handful of pantry staples can come together so lovely when tossed with pasta. We’re also wondering how some nice, plump, mild Cerignolas would be in place of Kalamatas, but that will have to wait for another day.Renee Schettler Rossi

Bowl of rigatoni with artichokes, garlic, and olives, with lemon zest on a textured table

Rigatoni with Artichokes, Garlic, and Olives

5 / 5 votes
This rigatoni with artichokes, garlic, and olives recipe is a consummate spring supper that’s vegetarian, delicious, and, most importantly, fast. Garlic, rosemary, and artichokes are sauteed in butter while the pasta cooks. Everything is tossed together and topped with olives and orange zest.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories620 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 12 to 16 ounces rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 6 jarred artichoke hearts packed in oil*, drained and cut into quarters
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange, preferably organic, (or, if you prefer, the zest of a small lemon)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, (optional)


  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok over medium heat, heat the butter and oil until the butter melts into a puddle. Add the garlic, rosemary, olives, and artichokes and cook, still over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until the liquid almost completely evaporates, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the orange (or lemon) zest to the artichoke concoction, season really quite generously with the salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Remove from the heat.
  • When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the artichoke mixture in the skillet. Place the pan over medium-high heat and toss again for 30 seconds or so, just long enough to evenly coat the pasta. Taste and, if desired, season with more pepper. Divvy the pasta among plates, spooning any artichoke mixture that remains in the skillet over the top. And, if you please, shave or grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pasta. Serve immediately.


*What Kind Of Jarred Artichokes To Use

We find what works best here are artichokes jarred straight-up in oil minus any potpourri of dried herbs.
Pasta Italiana

Adapted From

Pasta Italiana

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 620 kcalCarbohydrates: 69 gProtein: 12 gFat: 31 gSaturated Fat: 7 gMonounsaturated Fat: 19 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 16 mgSodium: 428 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Gino D’Acampo. Photo © 2012 Kate Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Fabulous! If you stay organized, the rigatoni in all its olive-y, garlic-y, rosemary-y goodness will be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Be sure to season well with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. And do add the orange zest, as it’s delicious.

If you can boil water and cook pasta, then you can surely make this recipe. Made with simple ingredients, it is full of flavor . The rosemary and citrus (orange or lemon) zest just gives the pasta the wonderful oomph. It is perfect for a weeknight meal or midnight snack attack or really any meal any time of day.

The orange zest and rosemary are really the key here. These flavors go so well with the artichokes and olives and turn what would otherwise be a very plain dish into something special. The hardest part about this recipe is finding artichokes packed in oil. What you are looking for here are not the “marinated” artichokes that are so common in supermarkets, but unseasoned, plain artichokes. Mine were packed in sunflower oil. Once your artichoke quest is completed, this recipe makes a very simple and easy pasta dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

This was a very nice dish. It’s light and refreshing, but also very satisfying. I was able to pick up both the olives and the artichokes at my local grocery store on the olive bar. This was nice because I could purchase exactly what I needed and not have mostly empty jars sitting in my fridge. This was easy to put together, which made it a perfect meal for a busy weeknight. The spice and tang was nice, and the artichokes added just the right balance. With a touch of Parmesan, this dish is perfect. A fabulous go-to recipe when you need something quick and want something delicious.

I must say this pasta dish surprised me. The end result was much better than expected, with the perfect amount of “sauce,” a nice taste of rosemary, and slight tanginess of the orange zest and the olives. I can also see this this being a beautiful cold pasta dish. Would be amazing with some prosciutto.

A deliciously light and easy busy night’s dinner option. I used my favorite pinot grigio and the zest of a Valencia orange and loved it! For my palate, artichokes can be a bit mild, so I incorporated one tablespoon of the artichoke oil and reduced the butter to one tablespoon, and it worked out very well. Yummy all the way!

A perfect dish for a weeknight! We loved the salty olives and artichokes combined with the herbs and pasta. This was almost a “pantry meal” and was so fast to put together. It was light but very satisfying. I zested a lemon instead of the half orange and we liked that combination with the herbs and white wine reduction. I’ll keep this recipe around for an easy spring and summer dinner! I may add grilled shrimp next time, if we’re feeling the need for some protein with our pasta.

What a nice springtime pasta! (And so very Italian!) I really enjoyed the bright citrus taste of the orange zest. That really worked well with the artichokes and saltiness of the olives. I would love to add a little Italian parsley to add a little green color to the pasta before serving, as well as a grating of Parmesan cheese for a bit of a bite before serving as well. Overall, this was very tasty and would love to make it again, maybe next time with whole-wheat pasta.

This was a really simple and quick recipe. The olives, artichokes, and garlic were a delicious blend of ingredients. I didn’t have salted butter and was glad I didn’t. It did not need any more salt. I liked the sauce a lot and would have liked to have more of it, so I would decrease the pasta to 12 to 14 ounces. The wine and rosemary brought a finished taste to it. All in all it was a winner! I loved it!

My sweetheart’s pasta repertoire is limited to pasta with either marinara, pesto, and/or cheese on it. I’ve been looking for some more options that would be pantry-friendly and not too intimidating for a beginner to make. I appreciate that most of the ingredients in the recipe are items that can be found in a pantry and stored for a while. The recipe has great flavor from the wine, the salty olives, and the rosemary. The artichoke hearts seemed to break apart more than I anticipated, but I liked that this contributed to the artichokes being in every bite. I ended up cutting the olives into quarters because the ones that I had seemed a little large and would have resulted in too much olive flavor in a single bite. We tried this recipe with and without the orange zest and preferred it without so the other flavors stood out more. I think less oil/butter is possible. Seasoning at the end with salt and pepper helps pull this entire recipe together.

Perfetto! Quick–the timing is correct; easy–no hard to find ingredients or complicated instructions; adaptable–can be served either as an entrée or as a side. And though the recipe states to serve the pasta immediately, I think this would make a lovely lunchbox treat, perhaps with a side salad or simple steamed broccoli, green beans, or spinach, any of which would nicely complement the pasta and add nice green color to the plate.Made as described, the dish is delicious, but something of color would perk up the overall presentation; as it is, only the chopped fresh rosemary adds a bit of green to the otherwise primarily beige dish.It did look like a lot of rosemary to me, but when I added it, it provided just the right taste and visual appeal. I opted out of the optional zest and was glad I did; the perfection of the dish would not have been improved upon with its inclusion. I lightly salted, due to the salty olives, and generously peppered. I found only a light salting to be necessary even though I used unsalted butter. As a postscript, I don’t really feel artichokes are akin to Marmite: I think Marmite is much more controversial and much less universally loved. Regardless, the artichokes are great in this dish, and, indeed, you won’t be disappointed.

I am a shopper. Some people like to shop for shoes- I shop for food and provisions. During hours that I relish as my own you will find me at some of Brooklyn and Manhattan’s great markets. At one such place, there are aisles upon aisles of wonderful, imported, Italian preservedvegetables and olives. This recipe is a wonderful use for those jarred delicacies. Since the ingredient list is sparse, a jar of good long-stem Roman artichokes in oil seems less a splurge. This pasta is quick and easy and will be immediately referenced the next time I’m perusing those aisles. I served the finished pasta with Chicken Milanese and the dinner was a huge, huge hit at our house. Testing tip: if you cannot find hearts in oil, use frozen hearts, defrosted and very, very well drained. Pack the hearts into a container with extra-virgin olive oil (enough to coat–they don’t need to swim in oil) along with a little thyme and oregano if you want, salt and pepper. Let them marinate one day in the fridge to use in this yummy recipe. They will keep for four days in the refrigerator.

Yum! This pasta dish was both speedy and delicious. Once your water is boiling you’ll be finished in the time it takes for your pasta to cook. At first I thought there might not be enough olives and artichokes to make for a flavorful dish, but the balance was perfect. Since I didn’t have salted butter, I added 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the butter and oil. I skipped the orange zest and might use lemon next time. As a final touch I sprinkled the dish with some grated Parmigiano.

I am a fan of artichokes almost any way. This is a quick and easy way to enjoy them. I needed less time than 30 minutes.Next time, I would cut up the artichokes into pieces less than the quarters so that parts would find their way into the tubes of the rigatoni.

This is an elegant but easy pasta dish to put together. The orange zest and artichokes are an unusual addition which both work well, and next time I’d add a little more rosemary to help it keep pace with the other strong flavors.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this before as is and decided to vary a bit this time. Used Busiate pasta from Sicily, swapped oil-cured olives for kalamatas, replaced rosemary with oregano, and finished with a tiny bit of blood orange infused Sicilian olive oil. In keeping with this more “Mediterranean” shift – no butter or cheese.

    1. Peter, I like the way you’re thinking! I think your substitutions sound fantastic. Especially the blood-orange-infused olive oil.