Kalyn's Kitchen

Julia Child’s Spaghetti Marco Polo

(This is an old recipe that has been removed from my site, but I am leaving the printer-friendly recipe here in case anyone is looking for it.)

Makes 4 servings, Recipe slightly adapted from one which appeared in From Julia Child’s Kitchen. (affiliate link)

1/2 lb. spaghetti
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts (Julia used walnuts)
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (from a jar)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut in strips (I used more basil than Julia did)
sea salt/fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp. garlic puree or finely minced fresh garlic
4 T good quality olive oil
fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving (Julia says two cups, but I got by with a lot less!)

Fill a large pot with water, add a good sized pinch of salt, and heat water until it comes to a boil. While water is heating, toast pine nuts in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes until just starting to brown, drain canned olives and red peppers and chop coarsely, and chop herbs. Combine nuts, olives, red pepper, herbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

When water comes to a boil add spaghetti, stir, reduce heat slightly and let pasta cook at a fairly vigorous boil for 8-9 minutes, until barely “al dente” or slightly chewy in the center. You will need to start biting a piece of spaghetti after about seven minutes to tell when it is perfectly done.

When spaghetti is done, drain in a large colander. Heat the olive oil in the same pot you used to boil the spaghetti in, add garlic, and cook just a minute, long enough that you barely begin to smell a garlic smell, taking care not to let the garlic brown. Add spaghetti to the pan, toss to coat with oil and garlic mixture, and season with salt and pepper if desired. (I didn’t bother with this since there was salt and pepper in the herb mixture.)

Remove spaghetti to large serving bowl, top with mixture of nuts, olives, peppers, and herbs, and “with dramatic gestures and a large serving spoon and fork, life the spaghetti high to blend with the flavorings before serving it.” Serve with chopsticks if you dare, and pass parmesan cheese for each guest to add to their portion.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    19 Comments on “Julia Child’s Spaghetti Marco Polo”

  1. I love this recipe! She also guest starred on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, where she presented this recipe as one children could make for their families. In that version, she switched out parsley for the basil and pimentos for the red pepper, and Swiss cheese for the Parmesan. I think these changes were to make the recipe more accessible to the child’s palate.

  2. “Bite with An Alert Tooth”
    I love that! Thanks for sharing that Julia-ism.

    It’s taking me a few days to read all the Julia Birthday Event posts. I really enjoyed yours…

  3. Wonderful Julia Tribute. Looks delicious….perfect after a long day! 🙂

  4. Yum – sounds lovely.

  5. That looks fabulous! I always loved watching her, she had expertise, and humor. I still watch her old shows when they are on, and she was just as good as we say she was. She was the real thing!

  6. Hi Kalyn, love your tribute! And you’re right, she always did paint charming pictures of food with her words, both in print and spoken! The recipe looks divine. These types of dishes are always among my favorites!

    Bon Appetit


  7. Geez, Kalyn, I thought I had already left a comment on this post. Guess I just answered your email. Anyway, thank you so much for taking part; I loved your memories of JC and your pasta.

  8. I love that you made it for breakfast!

  9. A lovely tribute and a gorgeous looking dish. Perfect for any Presto Pasta Night.

  10. I wish I had known about Julia Child before now. I enjoyed reading your post. And I may be tempted very soon to make the Marco Polo Spaghetti for Freddie

  11. A lovely homage to Julia, whose TV shows really taught me that cooking could be fun. If you’re going to add to your Julia library, I’d consider two of her older books based on the later TV shoes — Julia Child & Company, and Julia Child & More Company. I’ve used them so often that the spines of the books have fallen apart!

  12. Hi everyone,
    I never really watched Julia on TV much until she was in re-runs, but her personality really did shine through in this recipe. And what a great blend of flavors. True talent to come up with such a quick, simple combination that tastes so great!

  13. Your spaghetti is looking really good &it’s vegetarian too.
    I used to watch some of Julia Child’s specials on PBS.She was one great lady!

  14. This sounds and looks delicious. Beautiful colors, intriguing combination of ingredients. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Julia was one rocking lady, I am sure she would have been into the food blogging community if she were still with us. Beautiful dish to celebrate her great style.

  16. I don’t know if I ever saw Julia Child on TV, although I have read much about her. Nice dish, looks really pretty.

  17. Great tribute to Julia! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Your photo looks fantastic! Great colors:)

  18. Oh how I used to love watching Julia! Her very precise directions (“simmer until you see the very first waft of steam…”) were just what every new cook needed. I miss her charm and casual elegance, no one can compare!