wholewheat spaghetti with green olives and anchovies - pronto

A few months ago the ABC showed Nigella Lawson's most recent tv series Nigellisima. Lots of the recipes didn't appeal to me but I liked the sound of spelt spaghetti with green olives and anchovies.

I looked for the recipe online but all the links to the recipe were broken. I went to the bookshop and I couldn't find a single copy of the book, so I put the recipe on the backburner. A few months back I finally found the recipe online and typed it up. I couldn't find any spelt spaghetti but as I had some wholewheat spaghetti in the cupboard I used that instead. 

I'm no fan of pine nuts so I used some chopped macadamia nuts instead and the rest I already had in my pantry or lurking in my fridge.

Put simply, this is just a green olive tapenade recipe served over spaghetti. Apart from the spaghetti nothing in the sauce is cooked so it takes no time to whip it together. 

Here's the original recipe for you.

(Serves 2)

8 oz. spelt spaghetti
Salt for pasta water, to taste
10 pitted green olives
10 anchovy fillets (from can or jar), drained
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Leaves from small bunch parsley (about 1 cup, packed)
Zest and juice of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Pepper (optional)

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously, or to taste, and add the pasta; my spelt spaghetti needs 8 to 9 minutes, so I set the timer for 7 and start testing for doneness then.

To make the sauce, put the olives, anchovies, garlic, pine nuts, parsley, lemon zest and juice and olive oil in a small bowl and blitz with an immersion blender (or in your mini processor bowl). Don’t worry about the odd unmashed pine nut (or olive); indeed, they are rather appealing.

Just before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of starchy cooking water and immediately add 2 tablespoons of it to the bowl of sauce, then give another brief blitz to combine those last ingredients.

Top the drained pasta back into its pan, then pour and scrape the sauce on top and toss to mix, adding more of the cooking liquid if you feel you need the sauce to be looser.

Season to taste – you may want pepper or more lemon juice, but I can’t see salt being necessary – then toss again and turn out onto a warm serving dish or divide between two plates or bowls.

I've made this twice so far, the first time for dinner one night and the second time for my Sunday lunch. By the time I'd photographed the dish the spaghetti was barely lukewarm which actually enhanced the flavours. So do yourself a favour and make this, but to get the best flavour I'd actually serve it lukewarm or even cold

Update - if you like this recipe, you might like this was one for pasta shells with tuna, lemon and artichoke as well.

I hope you all had lovely weekends. See you all again soon with some more baking,




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  2. Originally nigella uses Corriander not parsley

    1. She used parsley. I'm literally watching the episode right now.

  3. i watched Nigella make this today. but i couldn't find the recipe either - until i found your post. Yes, she does use parsley. i have some growing in my garden, so i really want to make this. thank you so much.

  4. Hi Lisa, every time Nigelissima is replayed I get a spike in traffic, so far 38,514 views and counting. Even after all these years it's hard to track this recipe down on the internet. When I get time I'd love to remake and photograph the recipe because I don't particularly like these images. Maybe later in the year.

  5. Thank Jillian - I saw this episode on TV last night and was too slow to scribble it down!

    Appreciate your work.


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