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Spaghetti Marco Polo

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 2 to 3 large servings 1x


Vegetarian/vegan with cheese omitted. This is by far my new favorite spaghetti recipe. Instead of dousing the noodles in heavy tomato sauce, they’re tossed with your favorite olive oil which has been quickly infused with sweet roasted garlic. A “pesto” of walnuts, olives, roasted peppers, and fresh herbs has all the flavors and colors to further enhance garlicky spaghetti. It’s an adventure to eat!


  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 lb. spaghetti
  • 1/2 to 1 C chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 C chopped black or kalamata olives
  • 1/2 C chopped roasted red peppers (packed in oil)
  • 1/3 C finely chopped parsley
  • About 10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 T olive oil
  • A heaping tablespoon of roasted garlic (or more!)
  • Crumbled feta


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add about 2 teaspoons of salt, then the pasta. Cook until al dente. This will depend on the type of spaghetti, but mine required about 11 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix nuts, olives, roasted peppers, fresh herbs, and plenty of salt and pepper.
  3. In the now empty pasta pot, heat olive oil over medium, add garlic, and stir. Cook for a couple minutes until very fragrant and garlic is broken up, reducing heat if garlic sticks to the pan. Remove from heat and toss garlic and oil with spaghetti. Serve topped with the nut and olive “pesto” and plenty of feta. Keeps well as leftovers for a few days.


Adapted from Julia Child’s From Julia Child’s Kitchen.

The quantities and ingredients for the pesto are quite flexible. You could use pine nuts or pistachios, black California olives (or your favorite type), and seasonal fresh herbs (reduce the quantity for stronger, more woodsy herbs). Parmesan cheese is delicious in place of feta.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian