Those are Kalamata olives. I suppose if you really want, you can get plain old canned black olives, but they don’t quite do the trick the way these guys do. Kalamata olives lend a unique-flavored saltiness to this sauce that you can’t get from another olive. I’ve found that most grocery stores carry them in one of two areas – an olive bar or behind the deli counter. Go for pitted ones for this recipe, if available.
If you notice the drop of olive oil on the counter in this picture, I will cry. Put the olive oil in a pan instead of on the counter, and then toss in the garlic and onion. You only need to cook them a minute or two over medium high heat. Don’t let them brown, because then they’ll overcook by the time the rest of the ingredients are done. The only way to really mess up this recipe is to burn the garlic. Nothing dominates a dish like that awful bitter burned garlic taste. Been there, my friends…
This pasta sauce is supposed to be a little “chunkier,” so I use fresh tomatoes and leave the skin on (but remove the pulp and seeds). You’ll know the sauce is done when the tomatoes begin to break down and some of the liquid cooks off.
Throw the leftovers in your fridge for a couple days. The longer it sits, the more the flavors will blend. If you thought you loved it the day you made it, just wait until you taste the leftovers!
Mediterranean Inspired Fresh Pasta Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: Approx 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
8 oz fettucini (half a package; linguini or spaghetti work, too)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 – 6 Roma tomatoes, diced (seeds and pulp removed)
1/2 large red onion, chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced (or more, if you love garlic and won’t be breathing on anyone anytime soon)
2 – 4 handfuls pitted Kalamata olives (or more)
Bunch of fresh basil, chopped
Salt to taste (approximately 1/2 – 1 tsp)
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, heat a large pan over medium heat – when hot, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add garlic and onion. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic begin to brown.
2. Add tomatoes and cook for approximately 5 minutes before adding olives. Add salt. Cook an additional 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down to desired consistency. Add basil for final minute of cook time. Serve immediately.