I was struggling thru dinner the other night, thinking of stuff I had in my pantry, Pasta is the obvious for me, I always keep a few forms of it.
When I opened the fridge and my eyes laid over this homemade kalamata tapenade paste I made a week ago, there you go we have a great dinner.
The olive tapenade pasta is a fast dish, if you got an olive tapenade paste in your fridge, if not, you can make one in no time or just buy one of the good brands, personally I like the French Delices du Luberon brand but nothing beats the homemade tapenade paste, superior to all the store-bought brands by far.
Olive tapenade pasta sauce
There are two basic forms I tend to make this pasta, minimalist style, only tapenade and olive oil as the sauce, in this case the matching pasta is spaghetti.
The second version for the olive tapenade pasta is with a rich vegetable tapenade sauce, and chicken (not a must, but chicken and olives is a great match), in this case a short pasta works best since it can scoop up the sauce so you feel it with every bite.
This time I chose the vegetable version, vegetables like zucchini, onions, tomatoes are the base of my sauce, along with some garlic and the tapenade.
The tapenade is used to make a quick marinade for the chicken as well as another addition to the sauce to make the olive flavor stronger.
*** note that the tapenade marinade will be absorbed best in the chicken flavor if left for the night, if you don’t have the time or the patience, give it half an hour in the fridge
Making the garlic breadcrumbs
This pasta is great by itself, however it is nice to have a new texture in the dish, the crunchy feeling of the breadcrumbs does the job and really kicks in this dish to the next level.
For the bread crumbs use any stale bread you have in hand, I like the oven roasted version, it dries out all the fluids and humidity that the crumbs contain and give it its crispy texture.
Don’t use a food processor for the breadcrumbs, the old-fashioned way is the best when it comes to bread crumbs, uneven, with large pieces, don’t fight it, use whatever you get.
A note about the garlic bread crumbs, use dry seasoning I don’t like to use fresh garlic and thyme from the reason fresh garlic tends to burn and release bitter flavors, the garlic powder is so much better in this case and so does the dry thyme.
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Marinading the chicken
Place the chicken thighs, olive oil, salt , pepper and half of the tapenade in a bowl, mix well and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
make the breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 160°c/320F.
Scrape the stale bread roughly, uneven breadcrumbs are just perfect and place in a bowl.
Sprinkle with olive oil and season with dry thyme and dry garlic powder, mix well and pour into a baking pan.
bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy.
Sear the chicken thighs
Place a cast iron skillet over high heat, when simmering throw the chicken, and sear for 3 minutes, take out into a bowl and add the other half of the tapenade (another tablespoon).
Start the sauce
In the same pan, add the onion, zucchini and olive oil, cook for 5 minutes add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the wine and cook for 30 more seconds on high heat, pour in the chicken stock and cook for another minute.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add the pasta and chicken, mix and add the tapenade, stir until combined and immediately remove from heat.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, add the breadcrumbs and parsley.
Serve hot and spread parmesan on top if desired.
Yaron has been cooking since he was 15 years old and only on his early 20's started to work professionally in restaurants, specializing in French, Italian and Japanese cuisines. After owning a few restaurants, the focus became more of the online culinary aspects of this fascinating profession.
when not cooking, or talking about food (most of the time), Yaron practice Yoga and the morning routine has to include Yoga practice.
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