Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Bocconcini and Spicy Tapenade

© 2012

This is another beautiful, quick and easy dish. You can eat it warm (not hot, simply the residual heat from the pasta) for dinner, or for lunch at room temperature or cold. Baby Lady loves to take this for lunch.

I have been wanting to post this dish for a while. The problem has been I only have photos of the finished dish with none of the step-by-step photos, not that this is all that hard because it’s not. I just like showing all the steps and readers of the blog have commented they like the step-by-step detail. I was going to remake the dish but when I was getting ready for out of town depositions in NYC, Baby Lady lovingly decided to make it for dinner the night before I left. As I was furiously working, I had no idea what she was doing and clearly had no opportunity to take the step-by-step photos. When we make it again, I will post the step-by-step photos for those interested. In the meantime, this is a pasta salad you owe it to yourself to try, unless you don’t like olives.

Now, as a side note, we like to use the Divina marinated olives with crushed red chiles sold at the Central Market. These are a spicy marinated olive perfect for this salad. If I had the recipe I would share but Central Market hasn’t given it to me yet. If they ever do, or I figure it out, it will posted here. If you can’t find a good olive marinated in crushed red chiles, a good green, pitted olive or even a green olive/Kalamata olive mix will suffice. We also prefer olives stored in oil as opposed to olives in brine. Also, if you use cracked pitted green olives, you will need to add 1/4 tsp of crushed red chile pepper for flavor and spice.

I should also point out that the tapenade can be made as much as 3 days before the salad. Cover it, refrigerate it and pull it out when you’re ready to make the pasta salad if you haven’t eaten it already. 😮 You see, tapenade can be as a topping for bruschetta, crostini, pasta, rice, potatoes, crackers, and as a dip for crudités. You can also mix it with pesto for a quick, simple “Salsa Genovese.” So, if you make the tapenade ahead of time, you might just eat all of it before you make the salad. Oh my!


  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pitted Divina marinated olives with crushed red chiles
  • 3 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb gemelli, fusilli, or rotelle pasta
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved (we like to color of red and yellow cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 8-oz package bocconcini
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano


Add garlic clove to the food processor with the food processor running and process until finely chopped. Turn off the food processor and add 1 cup chopped olives, capers, red wine vinegar, anchovy paste, mustard, and crushed red pepper. Pulse to process the mix to a coarse chop. Turn the food processor on and gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil and process until you have a coarse puree. Transfer to the puree to a bowl. Hand chop the remaining olives to a coarse chop and stir into the puree. This will provide you a little chunkiness for texture. Season the tapenade to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling heavily salted water stirring occasionally until al dente. Drain well. Transfer drained pasta to large bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over pasta and toss to coat. Add the tapenade, halved tomatoes, mozzarella, and oregano to pasta; toss to coat. Again, season to taste with salt and pepper.

© 2012

Serve and enjoy.

© 2012

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