Recipe: Olive tapenade spaghetti

I love anchovies.

And olives. And capers.

Which makes sense to make a tapenade.

Typically, olive tapenade is used as a dip for fresh bread or crackers. It’s delicious on lightly toasted bread to make crostini. It’s extremely versatile.

In this case, I used it as a stir-through pasta sauce.

The uncooked tomatoes helped add some colour and freshness to a really simple dish. The slight acidity and sweetness from the tomato balance out the saltiness of the olive tapenade too.

Olive tapenade spaghetti with fresh tomatoes

Makes ~200g of olive tapenade, pasta dish serves 4.


For the olive tapenade:

  • ~10 anchovy fillets
  • 50g capers (soaked in water for 30 min then gently squeezed)
  • 100g Kalamata olives, pitted (soaked in water for 30 min)
  • 50-75mL extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic (feel free to use 2 cloves of garlic, I just really like garlic)
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Dash of balsamic vinegar

For the dish:

  • 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 500g of spaghetti, cooked al dente, with some of the cooking water reserved


  1. Blend ingredients in a food processor/stick blender. Top up with olive oil until you get the consistency you want. I like mine fairly thick, like a pesto.
  2. Stir tapenade through cooked pasta and tomatoes, approx 1 tablespoon per serve.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, an extra glug of olive oil and serve.


When storing the olive tapenade in a jar, top up with enough olive oil to cover the surface to avoid oxygenation. It helps it last longer and prevents it going off.

Remember, a little bit of olive tapenade goes a long way.

Always cook pasta and reserve some of the water. The starchy water prevents the pasta from drying out and sticking together before adding the sauce. The starchy water also helps thicken up the sauce a little bit.

This olive tapenade reignited my love for sauces made from scratch and help of a stick mixer makes it super easy and quick to make! I can’t believe I’ve never made it before! It literally took me 1 solid minute of blitzing. Do it now! You can thank me later!


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