Recipe: Evan Kleiman’s ‘Beach Pasta’ brings summer vibes to your kitchen

LA County beaches are open to limited activities again; you can walk, swim, and surf. Just remember to keep six feet apart. 

While you can’t picnic on the beach yet, KCRW’s Evan Kleiman has a recipe that will bring the spirit of the sea into your kitchen. It’s a flexible dish perfect for these days in quarantine, where we’re making do with whatever ingredients that populate our pantries. 

Kleiman calls it “Beach Pasta,” which she shares from her cookbook with chef Viana La Place, “Pasta Fresca.” 


Beach Pasta

Conchiglie della Spiaggia

Serves 4 to 6

Since we can't laze around the beach, make Beach Pasta, carry your bowl of shells outside and tip your face up to the sun. This room temperature pasta dish is as close to “pasta salad” as actual Italian cooking gets. The “sauce” is room temperature, the pasta is hot. These types of sauces that rely on raw tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil to form a sauce are infinitely variable.  Do you like capers? Add them. Hate anchovies? Leave them out. Don’t have basil or parsley but have a green onion? Put it in. No tuna but you have tons of sardines you haven’t used yet or canned salmon? Go for it. Are you quarantining alone? One tomato and a little can of fish will work. You get the picture.

4 large ripe tomatoes cut into ½ in dice or 2 baskets cherry tomatoes cut in half
6-8 leaves fresh basil, coarsely torn
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
2  6.5 oz cans tuna of your choice, drained and flaked with a fork
¼ - ½ cup pitted black Kalamata or Gaeta olives
1-2 anchovy fillets rinsed and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound good quality medium pasta shells

In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, basil, parsley, tuna, olives, anchovies, salt and pepper. Add enough of the olive oil to barely cover the mixture. Do not stint! Leave the mixture in a cool shady spot in the kitchen for an hour. This allows the oil and juice from the tomatoes to create a sauce. Cook the pasta in abundant boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the sauce and mix well.