Side/ Vegetarian

Angel Hair Pasta with Olives and Capers

June 23, 2019 (Last Updated: June 27, 2019) by Chef Molly
angel hair pasta with olives and capers

Angel hair pasta is one of my favorite side dishes, since you get the decadence of pasta without all the carbs and calories of a full pasta meal. I particularly like this recipe served with anything that has similar Italian flavors, such as my Foil Packet Tilapia with Zucchini and Lemon. This dish also makes a great side for grilled meats or fish or even as a stand-alone vegetarian main course. And, angel hair pasta cooks so quickly that it will take you more time to bring your water to boil than cook your pasta, so you can have this side dish on the table in minutes. 

For anyone with picky eaters like mine, you can easily make this recipe without the olives and capers, and just toss those in at the end for anyone with good taste. ???? 

What is difference between angel hair and capellini?

Angel hair pasta and capellini, which translates literally as “little hairs” in Italian, are very similar. Both pastas are very very thin and are sold in long strands like spaghetti. Angel hair and capellini have a range of widths, but most angel hair is slightly thinner than capellini. Both are very delicate and are best paired with light sauces and vegetables or seafood. 

How long should I cook angel hair pasta?

Consult your box recipe for specifics, but most angel hair pasta cooks in just 2-4 minutes. Watch it closely and taste it to see whether it is done—you want it to be al dente: tender but not completely soft. Overcooking pasta will result in a mushy, gummy texture that is not appealing!

How to make angel hair pasta with olives and capers

This quick and easy angel hair pasta recipe calls for just a few ingredients and will take you about 10 minutes start to finish. Start by preparing all your ingredients, because you’ll want them all ready to go when the pasta is cooked: slice your kalamata olives, rinse and drain your capers. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add your angel hair pasta. It will only take a few minutes to cook. 

Next, I’ll give you my key for a creamy sauce that sticks to your pasta. When the pasta is done, reserve 1/4 cup pasta water and then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pan and add the butter and parmesan cheese. Add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir until the pasta sauce looks glossy and buttery. Then stir in the olives and capers, and serve with additional parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. You can replace the butter with olive oil if you prefer, though I love the silkiness that butter adds to this recipe.

If you’re looking for other great side dish options, be sure to check out my Spinach Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Roasted Broccoli Rabe recipes.

angel hair pasta with olives and capers

Angel Hair Pasta with Olives and Capers

Yield: 4 servings, as side dish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This angel hair pasta side dish, featuring olives, capers, and parmesan cheese, is the perfect accompaniment to grilled fish, meats, or vegetables.


  • 8 oz angel hair pasta
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 2 T. parmesan cheese, plus 1 T. for garnish
  • 1/2 c. kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 2 T. capers, drained and rinsed


  1. Bring salted water to boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add angel hair pasta and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes. Reserve 1/4 c. pasta water and then drain.
  3. Put pasta back into pan and add butter, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese.
  4. Add reserved pasta water 1 T. at a time until the pasta sauce looks glossy and buttery.
  5. Stir in olives and capers.
  6. Serve with additional parmesan cheese on top.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 299mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

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