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Olive Pasta with Toasted Bread Crumbs

A delicious combination of flavors inspired by the muffuletta sandwich, all topped with crispy bread crumbs.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Course: dinner, lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: bread crumbs, green olives, kalamata, pasta
Servings: 4
Author: Nicole Coudal



  • 1 Tb. Olive oil
  • 1/2 c. Panko (or fresh bread crumbs)
  • 1 Lemon, zested
  • 1-2 Tb. Fresh parsley, minced

Olive Mixture

  • 2 Tb. Olive oil
  • 2 Tb. Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium Shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 c. Pitted olives, chopped (any variety)
  • 2-3 Tb. Giardiniera (mild), minced
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • 1 lb. Pasta (short or spaghetti) (I used Angel Hair)
  • 1/2 c. Grated parmesan (add more, to taste)
  • 1/4 c. Parsley, minced


  • In a deep, non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tb. olive oil. Add Panko (or bread crumbs). Stir frequently as it browns. Sprinkle in a pinch of Kosher or sea salt. Stir until the crumbs are a rich brown color. Remove from heat and combine with zest of 1 lemon. Set aside until ready to use.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions (remember to add salt to the water to flavor the pasta!).
  • As pasta cooks, add olive oil, butter, red pepper flakes, shallot and garlic to the skillet, over medium heat. Add olives, giardiniera, lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook 1-2 minutes, until heated through, then remove from heat.
  • Once pasta is cooked, reserve 1 cup of water and drain pasta.
  • Return olive mixture in pan to medium heat. Add pasta and 1/2 c. pasta water. Stir to allow the starchy water to combine with the olive mixture and pasta. Add 1 Tb. of olive oil (or butter), then 1/4 cup of pasta water and mix just until combined. Remove from heat and mix in parmesan and parsley. Top with toasted breadcrumbs and serve immediately.