Add Olives To Spaghetti Sauce For The Complex Flavor Noodles Need

Creative home cooks often go the extra mile to infuse spaghetti recipes with more flavor. This can involve adding aromatics like fresh garlic and herbs, thickening the sauce, or including ground meat for some savory texture. One particularly rich ingredient you may want to consider including in your next batch of marinara sauce is olives. Olives are a polarizing food, but for those who have a palate for them, olives can provide a delicious zing to an otherwise bland spaghetti sauce. Thankfully, there are many different kinds to choose from that vary in levels of pungency.

Pasta puttanesca is one well-known Italian dish that includes the bold flavors of olives along with capers, garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovies. Olives are an important culinary staple in Italy and other Mediterranean countries and have been for thousands of years. Some are cured in oil, some have pits and some don't, and there are hundreds of varieties with different colors that can add unique flavors to a pasta dish. There isn't one "right" kind of olive to add to your spaghetti sauce, as each type will deliver some level of tartness as it simmers. 

Olives to consider using when upgrading spaghetti sauce

Whether you're adding a carefully curated blend of Italian seasonings or using a secret umami ingredient for spaghetti sauce, any recipe can benefit from a cup of olives. Even if you don't like olives, you can rest assured that adding them to your sauce won't overpower the other flavors. Instead, you'll notice a subtle difference in flavor and texture. Puttanesca sauce traditionally features purplish Kalamata olives. However, since what you're concocting isn't quite the same dish, feel free to experiment with other types of olives.

Castelvetrano olives will add a mildly salty, buttery burst to your pasta sauce, while other green varieties, like Arbequina, pack a much bolder bite. If you're looking for a more complex explosion of flavor, you can use the most popular green olive available at grocery stores, the pimiento-stuffed Spanish Manzanilla. The simplest way to get your spaghetti sauce to soak up the taste of olives is to sauté them in a pan for a couple of minutes with olive oil. Then, add your favorite spaghetti sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. You can also include a dollop of minced garlic or some red pepper flakes for an extra kick.