Buttery, meaty Castelvetrano olives; mild, slightly sweet havarti cheese; herbaceous, earthy dill; bright, vibrant lemon; these flavors all play together nicely in this speedy pasta recipe!
If you can’t find dill havarti at your local grocery store, no problem! Grab the block of plain havarti and add 1/2 tsp-1 tsp of dried dill instead. I left the amount variable depending on how much you love dill and want the flavor to stand out in the recipe.
Shred your own cheese for best results. Store-bought shredded cheese is often coated with preservatives that prevent it from melting smoothly, resulting in a grainy sauce. Shred your own cheese to ensure it melts smoothly!
Choose the right pasta for the sauce. I tend to always use bucatini for this recipe but feel free to use whatever pasta you have or like. Bucatini is a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center. This ultra-creamy and cheesy sauce clings to every-single nook and cranny. Cheese sauce on the inside and the outside of pasta? YES PLEASE!
Dill Havarti and Castelvetrano Olive Pasta
- 1 large pot
- 1 large and deep skillet may also use a wide Dutch oven
- 1 whisk
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 pair of tongs or spider strainer to transfer pasta
- 1 zester
- 1 grater
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- ¾ lb bucatini may sub whatever pasta you prefer
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup dry white wine like a sauvignon blanc
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups dill havarti freshly grated and packed; may sub plain havarti cheese and ½ tsp dried dill
- 16 Castelvetrano olives add more if you like
- 1 lemon zested and cut in half
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When water reaches a rolling boil, add 2 heaping tablespoons of salt, stir, and return to a roaring boil before adding pasta. Cook pasta as per package instructions until 1 minute shy of al dente; the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.
- While waiting for the water to boil and pasta to cook, let's get started on the sauce. Heat butter in a non-stick deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, being careful not to brown the garlic, about 30 seconds.
- Add the flour; whisk to combine. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 1 minute until roux is fragrant and sizzling. Add wine and milk a little bit at a time, whisking constantly to break up any lumps of flour.
- Adjust the heat to medium-low; add lemon zest and dried dill (if using plain havarti). Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and is lightly bubbling, about 8 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Add grated cheese and stir until melted into the sauce. Squeeze in the juice of ½ a ripe lemon; stir to incorporate. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Just before the pasta is done, reserve about a cup of pasta water. Transfer pasta straight from the pot (using tongs or spider strainer) and olives to sauce; toss (also using tongs) until noodles are coated. Cream sauces are NOTORIOUS for getting tight, so don’t be shy on adding pasta water 2 tablespoons at a time to thin out the sauce as needed. Err on the saucier side of things with this one. TRUST ME!
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges and more olives (optional).