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Elbow Macaroni with Pine Nuts, Lemon and Fennel

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Kosher salt

1/4 cup red wine vinegar 

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1/2 cup toasted Mediterranean pine nuts 

2 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives 

1 tablespoon minced red cherry peppers

1 tablespoon chopped capers 

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice) 

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced, plus 1/2 cup fennel fronds, coarsely chopped 

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves 

3 cups elbow macaroni (about 12 ounces) 

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano 


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a large bowl, add the vinegar and 1/2 cup of the oil. Add the pine nuts, olives, cherry pepper, capers and lemon zest. Toss the sliced fennel with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Combine the fennel with the dressing mixture. Add the fennel fronds and mint. Season with pepper. Let it sit while you cook the pasta.
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse and pat dry on a sheet pan lined with a kitchen towel. In a large bowl, toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
  4. Add the pasta to the fennel mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pasta with the cheese. Serve room temperature.