Olive Sauce / Salsa di Oliva

Makes 1 1/2 Cups

It is written that the olive is a gift from the gods. Certainly no food is more revered than the oil extracted from this ancient fruit that is known today for its health benefits as well as its culinary fame.

In this no-cook olive sauce two types of olives, Kalamata and Cerignola, are blended together to make a piquant sauce that is sensational not only on pasta like Pici but on fish, bruschetta, and pizza and mixed into bread dough.

The intensity of the flavors allows one to use the sauce sparingly (½ cup will sauce about ½ pound of pasta) and it will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator if the top is covered with a thin layer of olive oil. If you do not have an olive pitter to remove the pits, use a wide-bottomed jar to smash each olive; this easily removes the pit.


  • 1/2 pound Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/2 pound Cerignola olives, pitted
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Place the olives and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for 10 seconds. Add the parsley and thyme and pulse again for 10 seconds. With the motor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube in a slow stream. The sauce should look finely minced and have some texture to it. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in the salt and black pepper.
  2. Store the sauce in a jar in the refrigerator. Bring the jar to room temperature when ready to use. After removing some of the sauce, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top to prevent air from getting in and allowing bacteria to grow.
  3. Variation: Add julienned roasted sweet red and yellow peppers after mixing the pasta with the sauce and a few coarsely chopped black oil-cured olives for color and contrast.
  4. Note: If you prefer a hot-tasting olive sauce, add 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes to the sauce.
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