Pretty much the only way I will eat olives, if I’m being honest here is this Chunky Olive Pesto Pasta. Salty pantry based pasta is one of my favorite ways to enjoy summer. Delicious!
I don’t know what it is, but the combination of all the salty olives, capers, and cheese tossed together in olive oil and garlic makes for the most delicious sauce for all the pasta in the land. Could you even imagine… all the pasta in the land? Plus, who doesn’t think a salty week can be made better by having a big old bowl of carbs.
Salty week… see what I did there?
For the past 25 years, olives have never been my favorite thing. It’s a food I usually pick out of other things (greek salad, soup) and I never buy myself. However, in the biggest spur of creativity, I thought, “Huh? I wonder what would happen if I made pesto… out of olives?” Pesto is green. Olives are green. Makes sense?
Please tell me it makes a bit of sense.
So here we are, making maybe the easiest, most delicious pasta dish I’ve had in a while. I have a lot of pasta dishes on the blog, but this is a good one because you can whip it up pretty much with all ingredients in your pantry. Plus, the cooking time is next to nothing. And we all know that ya girl doesn’t play with standing in front of the stove during the summer months for more than 5 minutes. Especially during the heat-pocolypse of 2019. Seriously what was up with that humidity?
Don’t worry… I’ve got us covered.
We start with some chopped up green olives (I love these guys), tossed with garlic, red pepper flakes, capers and a ton of herbs. We “cook” our sauce by adding warmed olive oil, then stir in the cooked pasta and some of the pasta water. The pasta water is pretty much a non-negotiable because it helps the sauce “stick” to the pasta. Plus in terms of ingredients, it is pretty much a freebee because you make the pasta water when you make the pasta.
Talk about a win win!
I serve this with chopped toasted walnuts and a bit of parm. We love a parm moment over here but if you’re staying away from dairy, feel free to leave it out. This whole thing takes MAYBE 20 minutes to whip up together and tastes so darn fresh. Serve with a nice green salad, maybe some bread, and y’all you’ve got yourself a meal. DAMN right!
Yields 4 servings
10 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces spaghetti or other long pasta
- 1 small garlic clove
- pinch red pepper flake
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil (optional if you can't find it)
- 1 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
- 3 tablespoons drained chopped capers
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
- Around 1/4 cup parmesan, grated, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Cook pasta according to package instructions. drain, reserving around 1/2 cup pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking, warm olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. On a cutting board mash the garlic, capers, and red pepper flake into a paste. Add the garlic paste to a large bowl, then toss with 3/4 of the chopped green olives, chopped capers, parsley, basil, if using, and salt and pepper. Add warmed oil to a bowl and toss to combine. Add 1/4 cup reserved pasta water, stir, then add remaining pasta. Toss to coat pasta in the sauce, adding the parmesan and more pasta water, as needed. Add fresh lemon juice and top with walnuts, remaining olives, and more fresh parm. Serve with crusty bread. EAT.