A simple pasta dinner with tapenade

  • Article by: JOE GRAY , Chicago Tribune
  • Updated: August 6, 2014 - 2:12 PM

Olive tapenade is easy to find jarred in specialty shops, but when you make it yourself, the flavors pop in a surprising way.

Photo: Bill Hogan • Chicago Tribune,

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Olive tapenade, an earthy, salty paste of olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and other flavorings, is easy to find jarred in specialty shops. But when you whip up a batch yourself at home, the flavors pop in a surprising way that makes you never want to buy it in a jar again.

I’d made tapenade before with dark olives, but never green. But recently when faced with an overabundance of green olives, I turned to the food processor. We had so many large green olives that I made a huge batch — then faced the problem of what to do with it all. Although olive tapenade keeps well, it doesn’t keep forever. How to use it up? Pasta.

In this dish, the paste is tossed with linguine, then given a flavor boost and heft with rich sausage. Arugula at the end contributes freshness and zing. The tapenade proportions are based on experimentation. I basically thought of the ingredients that usually go into a jar, then played with the amounts. You could do that, as well, adjusting with more capers or orange zest instead of lemon or what have you. The key is to start with good quality olives from that olive bar at the grocery store.

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