orecchiette puttanesca with Lebanese green olives

orecchiette green olives and chickpeas

Orecchiette puttanesca with Lebanese green olives is a wonderful all-in-one-pan recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s Flavour. Eating pulses with pasta is common in Italy and Lebanon, great comfort food, and highly nutritious.  

Here the dish is full of flavour all the more so with the added brine from the olive jar. Too good to waste, don’t throw it away once the olives are finished.  Keep it in the fridge and add it to soups and stews!  Ottolenghi suggests cooking the pasta in chicken stock, but for a more vegan friendly touch, we used water and some brine from the olive jar, and it tasted delicious. 

serves 4

50ml Zejd extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tbsp to serve
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
400g tin of chickpeas (or 200g soaked overnight and boiled the next day til soft) pat dry with a clean tea towel
2tsp hot smoked paprika 
2tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsbp tomato paste
40g parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp baby capers
125g Zejd green souri olives, pitted and chopped in half
250g small, sweet cherry tomatoes
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tbsp caraway seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
250g dried orecchiette
500ml water + 200ml brine from olive jar
salt and pepper


  1. Put the first 6 ingredients in a large sauté pan (choose one that you have a lid for), with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. On a medium high heat fry for 12 minutes, stirring to make sure the chickpeas don’t stick – but become a little bit crispy.  Set a couple of tablespoons of the chickpeas aside to be used as a garnish.
  2. In a bowl, combine the parsley, lemon zest, chopped olives and capers.  Add two thirds of this mixture to the sauté pan, with the cherry tomatoes, sugar and caraway seeds.  Cook for 2 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring often.  Add the pasta (uncooked), water and brine,  and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover with the lid and cook for 12-14 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. If you’ve used the brine, you may not need to add any extra salt. 
  3. Stir in the remaining parsley and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and garnish with the fried chickpeas.  Season with freshly ground black pepper. 
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