pasta with olive sauceAs a kid and for that matter a young adult, I despised olives!  To me, they just tasted like salt with a whole lot of bitterness.  That food memory stayed with me for a very long time.  It was only 20 years ago that I began to enjoy these fruits.  My first bite was a kalamata olive. I was bracing myself for the bitter taste but my tastebuds had grown up…I liked it!  As a result, I began a quest to try all the different ones I could get my hands on.  If I hadn’t, I would not be able to make this dish or other dishes that highlighted olives.

You can easily enjoy this recipe as is or top with pangrattato (Italian for breadcrumbs).  Pangrattato makes perfect use of leftover bread.  It has also been dubbed as a poor man’s parmesan – a centuries-old technique used in poorer Italian communities where aged cheeses such as parmigiano reggiano were too expensive for everyday use.

serves 4

225g any short tube pasta
10 olives (green or black), finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cook pasta according to packet instructions. While pasta cooks, prepare the olive sauce. In a large frying pan add olive oil and melt the butter. The add garlic and olives. Cook until fragrant then add drained pasta. Toss to combine. Remove from heat. Divide into bowls and top with pangrattato.

to make pangrattato

100g stale bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of chili flakes
grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)

Cut bread into chunks.  Grab your food processor and whizz to produce crumbs. Heat the oil and butter gently in a frying pan.  Add garlic, chili flakes, and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until the breadcrumbs are golden. Stir in the lemon zest.

pangrattatoThe Culinary Chase’s Note: The pasta should look shiny and lightly coated with the olive oil and butter mixture.  If you find the pasta looks a bit dry, add a splash of the pasta water while still in the frying pan. Enjoy!