This 'Dead Fly' Pasta makes a gross Halloween dinner! Ready in under 20 minutes. This is a great quick pasta dinner before you head out trick or treating or as a main course at your Halloween party.
The 'flies' are black olives that make a delicious and easy pasta sauce when mixed with oil, garlic, anchovies, and pine nuts. When it isn't Halloween, you can serve this just as Black Olive Pasta, and your guest will love it!
Halloween is so packed full of candy it is nice to have an easy savory Halloween meal up your sleeve.
P.S don't worry - the flies in these photos are plastic!
Making an easy black olive sauce for pasta
This is an almost effortless sauce. It comes together in the time it takes your pasta to cook.
You start by you toasting off some pine nuts, then cook some garlic in olive oil, melt in a couple of anchovies, add some chopped black olives, and finish with a little white wine.
The sauce is then added back into the cooked pasta and a little pasta cooking water, and as the sauce is warmed through, it will evenly coat the pasta with flecks of black. Finally, the chopped toasted pinenuts get added at the end of the dish to add a creamy crunch.
A delicious pasta recipe that you can serve on Halloween as the flecks of chopped olives look like tiny black flies!
- Pinenuts - these add a delicious creamy crunch to the pasta. But you can leave them out if you don't have them. Or replace them with your favorite nut. Cashew nuts or walnuts would be a great alternative.
- Pasta - I like the long pasta noodles for this dish, but you can replace it with any pasta shape you prefer.
- Anchovy fillets - see below.
- Black olives - use any black olives that you like. You can often find already chopped ones in jars. Just be sure to drain them well.
- White wine - use any dry white wine that you enjoy. If you can't consume alcohol, you can replace this with just water or a low sodium vegetable broth.
I hate anchovies!!
I know anchovies are a diversive ingredient! People either love them or loath them.
But what they add to this sauce is an umami flavor that you can't quite put your finger on—a salty savory quality.
When you add the anchovies to the garlic and olive oil, they almost melt away. What you are left with is an intensely flavored mixture that has that umami quality and leaves you licking your lips, but you don't know why.
Give it a go just once and see how you feel.
What to serve with Black Olive Pasta
The flavors in this "dead fly" pasta are big and bold, so a simple side salad is a great option and maybe some crusty bread.
What wine to drink with the pasta
This pasta has some punchy flavors, so you need a wine that can stand up to them without dulling their flavor.
If you are looking for white wine, then a dry, unoaked Chardonnay could be good. (Unoaked is important here: introducing those buttery vanilla flavors of oak will ruin the punch of the olives and anchovies.)
Or the ever-faithful Sauvignon Blanc. This is always my pick as I use it as the wine for the sauce.
Black olives work well with red wines, especially those with some body to them. But as with the white wines, avoid anything oaky.
I would suggest something like a Nero d'Avola, Frappato, or a Montepulciano.
The salty flavors could also work well with a Rosé from Provence or a Pinot Noir Rosé.
Other Halloween dishes to try:
'Dead Fly' Pasta Recipe
- ¼ cup pinenuts -see note 1
- 12 oz pasta -see note 2
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 anchovy fillets -see note 3
- 1 cup black olives, finely chopped -see note 4
- ½ cup dry white wine -see note 5
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Start by dry toasting the pinenuts. To do this, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pinenuts and cook until golden; immediately remove them from the pan and give them a rough chop. Set aside.
¼ cup pine nuts
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Salt it generously and cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the packet suggests. Once cooked, use a large measuring cup to reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, and then chopped garlic in the olive oil. Cook for a minute and then add in the chopped anchovy fillets. Let them dissolve into the oil.
½ cup olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
2 anchovy fillets
- Add the chopped olives and stir to coat in the oil.
1 cup chopped black olives
- Pour in the white wine, turn up the heat and allow the wine to evaporate by at least half.
½ cup dry white wine
- Add the cooked pasta to the olive sauce and mix well. Pour in a little of the pasta cooking water and keep stirring until everything is combined and the pasta is cooked perfectly.
- Serve immediately sprinkled with the toasted pine nuts and seasoned with black pepper.
toasted pinenuts (from step 1)
black pepper to taste
- Pinenuts add a delicious creamy crunch to the pasta. But you can leave them out if you don't have them. Or replace them with your favorite nut. Cashew nuts or walnuts would be a great alternative.
- I like the long pasta noodles for this dish, but you can replace it with any pasta shape you prefer.
- When you add the anchovies to the garlic and olive oil, they almost melt away. What you are left with is an intensely flavored mixture that has that umami quality and leaves you licking your lips, but you don't know why. If you really can't stand them, then you can leave them out and add ¼ cup of grated parmesan when you toss the pasta with the sauce.
- Use any black olives that you like. You can often find already chopped ones in jars. Just be sure to drain them well.
- Use any dry white wine that you enjoy. If you can't consume alcohol, you can replace this with just water or a low sodium vegetable broth.