Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tapenade + Pasta ='s one great dish

Note on pic: I apologize for the lack of green in this pic and the steam clouding the shot (although ,it does create atmosphere-lol). Had a seriously hungry family nipping at my heels to eat this. It may not look the prettiest but I can assure you, it was gobbled up in under 5 minutes, which is about how long it took to prepare.

Tapenade is a Provencal dish usually consisting of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. It is a simple dish that is easy to make and oh-so delicious. My husband and I were lucky enough to spend our honeymoon traveling through France and sampled many delicious tapenades while staring out at the gorgeous olive trees that helped create them.

Every time I make it as a dip or spread for a party, people ask me for the recipe. And my son inherited my husbands love for olives so I make it a lot! The beauty of tapenade is that it's not just a dip or spread for crackers or crusty bread. It can be spread on fish or thinned out and tossed into pasta for a unique, no-mayo pasta salad. In this recipe, I broke tradition (like I so often do), by leaving out the anchovies and adding basil and lemon zest. This recipe is fool proof so go ahead, personalize it. Mix up the olives and the flavors a bit, make it your own. Whatever you do, ya gotta bring this dish to your next picnic or BBQ. I just know your friends will be begging for the recipe. Tell them you got it in France. Even if you've never been, I won't tell!

Makes 1 1/4 cups

1 cup pitted olives (any kind. my fave are black oil cured)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup basil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 small clove garlic

1)- Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture is well combined. Be sure to stop the machine to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Process until mixture is a thick paste, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately or place in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Great uses for Tapenade:

As a main dish:

Stir in 1/2 cup Tapenade into warm pasta (see above image). Add in extra olive oil or pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed.

As a fancy-schmancy but oh-so simple appetizer:

Slice a baguette into 1/2-inch pieces. Toast in broiler until light brown. Spread 1 teaspoon of tapenade on each piece of bread. Top with chopped basil or parsley.

As a sandwich spread:

Spread 1 tablespoon of tapenade on a crusty roll. Top with fresh mozzarella, basil, sliced tomatoes and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. This ain't yo mama's caprese sandwich!


  1. I just sent this recipe to a friend of mine. We were just talking about Tapenade last week and her kids love it! Looks delicious :)

  2. Yay! My son is 19 months and gobbled this up. I made sure to only put a little on his pasta bec of the sodium but he sure loves olives. Glad I could be of service.

  3. Hey, what kind of pasta is that? It looks great. It's hard to find the right pasta to grab on to the ingredients like that.

  4. Not usually a fan of tapenade, but the recipe looks so simple! And I love almost anything with pasta. Thanks!

  5. Hi!

    The pasta shape is called Campanelle by Barilla! Its an awesome shape! looks like a little bell or flower. A lot of fun to use and holds sauce beautifully.

    here is the link: