Quick Tomato Sauce with Black Olives and Cream

Quick Tomato Sauce with Black Olives and Cream

Prep Time


Cook Time



Quick Tomato Sauce with Black Olives and Cream

Grana padano is a cow’s milk grating cheese made in various parts of northern Italy. It is similar to the better-known, richer Parmigiano-Reggiano, but it is not aged as long and, as a result, has a less complex taste. It is perfect for many pasta dishes.

Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet white onion such as Vidalia, finely diced
  • 1 leek, white portion only, rinsed well and finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Tiny splash of brandy or cognac
  • 1 can (35 ounces) plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Leaves from 2 or 3 large fresh thyme sprigs, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti or bucatini
  • 1/2 cup pitted Mediterranean-style black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Leaves from 3 or 4 large fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup grated grana padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  • 1 In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and leek and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • 2 Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and very lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the brandy and let it boil away. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme.
  • 3 Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 4 Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 7 to 9 minutes.
  • 5 When the pasta is almost ready, add the olives and cream to the sauce. Simmer gently over low heat for a few minutes to blend the flavors.
  • 6 Drain the pasta well and add it to the sauce. Add the parsley and toss gently. Pour into a warmed large, shallow bowl and serve immediately. Pass the cheese at the table.


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