Creamy Bacon and Olive Tapenade Spaghetti

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep: 15 minutes
  • Cook: 20 minutes


6ounces pitted California Black Ripe Olives, drained
1clove garlic, chopped
1teaspoon anchovy paste
1teaspoon capers
1/2teaspoon lemon zest
2tablespoons chopped walnuts
2tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/4teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8ounces spaghetti
5slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2cup chopped sweet onion
1clove garlic, minced
8ounces cream cheese, softened, cut into cubes
2tablespoons minced fresh basil
2teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
-- Freshly grated parmesan cheese and additional chopped fresh basil for garnish, optional


In the bowl of a food processor, place the olives, chopped garlic, anchovy paste, capers, lemon zest, walnuts, chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Process until finely chopped. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil and process until fully combined; set aside.

Bring 3 – 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Break spaghetti in half lengthwise, add to boiling water and salt according to taste. Cook spaghetti according to package directions to al dente. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water; set both spaghetti and pasta water aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add in the bacon and cook until crisp, approximately 4 – 5 minutes; remove bacon from skillet and set aside. Remove and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the skillet. Place skillet with bacon drippings back over medium heat. Add in the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, approximately 3 – 4 minutes. Add in the minced garlic, cook 1 additional minute.

To the onions, add in the reserved olive tapenade mixture, cream cheese and about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and cook until cream cheese melts, approximately 1 – 2 minutes. Add in the reserved spaghetti, reserved bacon, minced basil, lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; mix until fully combined, adding in enough of the remaining pasta water to loosen up the cream cheese mixture and create a sauce.

To serve, place spaghetti onto a serving platter or dinner plate and garnish with parmesan cheese and additional fresh basil.