Kalamata Olive Marinara Sauce

Cooking for a Crowd, Recipes, Worknight Dinners
Photo: Leigh Loftus

Photo: Leigh Loftus

One of the fun things about my generation is that with Facebook and our good friend Google, it’s not hard to stay in touch with friends, family and even obscure high school classmates. With a few clicks, you can see who has gotten married, who has had children and who is engaged to another classmate that they weren’t even friends with during school. Before the days where we walk around with the internet attached to our palms, back when email was not the primary form of communication for many people,  I did an exceptionally poor job at keeping in touch with far-flung friends.

To this day, I loathe voice mails and sometimes go days without checking it. What I like about Facebook is that it contains most of the people I’ve crossed paths with at one time or another in one convenient, easily accessible location. From friends who knew me before I was born to old bosses to relatives I never even knew I had, it’s finally easy for me to keep in touch and be that far-flung friend I was never able to be.

Even without the aid of technology I’ve kept in touch with a few friends over the years, the kind of friends that you know will always be a part of your life in one way or another. Maybe not every day, maybe not in the same way they always were, but they’re there.

A simple marinara sauce is kind of like that far-away friend. So accessible, so familiar and may have even once been a staple in your everyday routine. Now that you’ve graduated to brown butter sauces and sun-dried tomato pesto, you might have forgotten about a mainstay like marinara.

Reinvented with kalamata olives this sauce is every bit like the marinara you grew up with but a new touch of sophistication that you’ll welcome and maybe even grow to love. For pasta-eating guilt appeasement, I added two big handfuls of spinach into the sauce at the very end and cooked until it wilted.

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Kalamata Olive Marinara Sauce
Recipe type: Cooking for a Crowd
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • ½ cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ kalamata olives (pitted and chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon Italian herb blend
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 handful basil (chopped)
  • Directions:
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
  2. Add the tomatoes, kalamata olives, Italian herbs, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.
  3. Using a hand mixer or blender, puree until the sauce reaches desired consistency and serve.

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  • Reply
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    July 30, 2011 at 7:05 am

    […] group of friends. You pop a pot on the stove and make a big batch of lemon basil marinara sauce or kalamata olive marinara sauce with your favorite pasta and you call it a day. In the summer, if you don’t have a grill or […]

  • Reply
    lisa keys
    March 24, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I’ve missed stopping by. The sauce sounds just delicious-a nice replacement for a puttanesca for those who don’t like anchovy.

  • Reply
    March 17, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    This reminds me – I’ve been meaning to make an olive and caper sauce for AGES. This looks delicious. And I dig the greens you’ve got goin’ on there. Good one!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Marinara with olives has such a meaty quality, at least that’s what I’ve been imagining since your post went live and I said, Hmm, hmm, must make this. Nice work, Maris!
    PS Your “my website” link in your Blogger profile is the old In Good Taste. Just FYI!

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    March 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Do you rinse the olives before you use them? I often find that they are very salty or briny, and I rinse or soak them in water before I cook with them.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Marinara is definitely like that old friend you’ve fallen out of touch with…it’s always there for you when you need it, ready to lift your spirits at the end of a long day. Love the kalamata twist.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I’d love it for the olive alone

  • Reply
    Daryl Callahan
    March 16, 2010 at 7:43 am

    To an olive lover like me this looks fantastic. What a great dish-healthy and I actually love all the ingredients– wine garlic olives pasta–I could live off that!!!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2010 at 4:58 am

    I love olives-any kind any color and am sure I would love this sauce

  • Reply
    Girl Japan
    March 16, 2010 at 3:54 am

    I don’t like voice mails either… and even sometimes ignore my calls.. I always seem busy doing something… but I love your rendition on this recipe.. It sounds delish.

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