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Playing Spicy Olive and Tomato Spaghetti


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, half a palmful
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1 small red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano, 1/3 palmful
  • 1 cup packed good quality pitted black olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can Italian crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Serves: 4


Heat a large pot of water to a boil for pasta. Add salt and cook pasta to al dente. Heads up: you will need to reserve 1 cup starchy cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat; heat EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes, add garlic, fennel, red pepper, marjoram and olives and cook 3 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add wine and reduce 1 minute then stir in tomatoes, bring to a bubble and reduce heat. Simmer sauce a few minutes to thicken and combine flavors.

When pasta is ready, add starchy liquid to sauce, drain pasta and add to pan. Toss vigorously a full minute then serve in shallow bowls with lots of grated Pecorino Romano on top.