Harissa Spaghettini

Harissa Spaghettini Recipe


One of the condiments that survived my recent refrigerator scouring was a three-quarters full tube of harissa - the brick red, earthy, and sometimes potent North African spice paste. I had it earmarked for a pasta dish I had in mind - long, thin whole wheat pasta noodles, olives, kale, pine nuts tossed in a pan for a tangle with a garlic-charged harissa and olive oil sauce. I'm packing my bags for a quick trip to Chile and Argentina, and thought this would be an easy send-off supper - with leftovers I can bring on the flight.

Keep in mind as you head into this recipe that the range of harissas available for purchase is vast - trust your taste buds, and if any of you have favorite brands, give a shout in the comments. One tube might be tastelessly tomato-y, the next tongue-torchingly hot. That being said, the best road to a great harissa is to make your own, but I'd be lying if I said I'm religious about it - hence, the tube of red in my refrigerator door.

 
 
 
 

Harissa Spaghettini Recipe

A few quick notes - you can substitute any whole whole pasta, really. Cut the kale into big bite-sized pieces. Harissa can be found in many ethic food sections, or you can make it yourself.

3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
a big pinch of fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons harissa (paste)

8 ounces (1/2 pound) whole wheat spaghettini
1 small bunch kale, well-washed and deveined
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
zest of 1 lemon

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, place the cloves of garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle then with a big pinch of salt. Crush with the flat side of a knife. Now crush and chop, crush and chop until you have a garlic paste. Alternately, you can use a mortar and pestle. In a small bowl whisk together the garlic paste, harissa, and olive oil. Set aside.

Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook per package instructions. Just before the pasta is done add the kale to the pasta water, count to six, drain and set aside.

Heat half of the harissa dressing in the now empty pasta pot Add the pasta and kale, black olives, pine nuts, and lemon zest. Stir over the heat for a minute or so, then turn everything out onto a platter and drizzle with the remaining harissa olive oil.

Serves about 4 - 6.

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Your Comments


VeggieGirl
August 3, 2008

I've never tried harissa before... sounds wonderfully delicious and intriguing!!

 

M. A. Mandel
August 3, 2008

Where does one buy harissa?
Any brands you'd recommend..
Sure would love to check it out.
Thanks-
M. A.

 

funkylamb
August 3, 2008

After an amazing North African meal in the suburbs of Paris, I became obsessed with harissa! After an extensive search, I confidently say that the best ready-made paste I've found is Charmaine Solomon's Harissa. It's almost exactly the paste I had in Paris, full of flavour but with a hearty kick. Fabulous! I have no idea if it's available in the U.S. but you can get it from delis and dj's in Australia. And her website: http://charmainesolomon.com/pastes/pastes.html

 

Amy
August 3, 2008

Gah! It's been years since I've had harissa! I had a boss who made an amazing pasta dish with olives, capers, and elephant garlic - and tons of harissa.

I'm going to have to check back for recommendations of brands. I'm jonesing for some now!

 

Cate
August 3, 2008

Harissa is one of those things I have been intrigued by for awhile but have not gotten around to making or cooking with. Thanks for the inspiration!
Have a great trip to South America!

 

Pookha
August 3, 2008

Oooh! This recipe sounds lovely.

I make my own harissa--I have no store-bought supplies where I live.

Carnivore Husband loves it mixed with orange juice and slathered on chicken breasts, then grilled.

I love the big bold flavors.

Have a safe trip!.

 

 

Robert Yesselman
August 3, 2008

To my mind, the best harissa combination is with lamb sausage - either the kind a good market sells, or the Moroccan ones that one could no doubt find on the web. This article caused me to think of a grilled lamb tenderloin topped with harissa with some cous cous on the side. Sounds like tomorrow :).

 

Lynette
August 3, 2008

I adore harissa. If you need anybody to carry your bags on your idyllic sounding trip, you know my address. Have a wonderful time and hurry back as you'll be much missed.

 

Alison
August 3, 2008

Lately your recipes are so easy I can make them on a weekday. Much appreciated!


 

Rodrigo
August 3, 2008

Chile, I do live here :)

Any semipublic appearance?
Any food blog meeting I am unaware of?

 

Athy
August 3, 2008

Have a wonderful trip! I never thought of putting harissa on pasta and I had no idea it was made up with NM chilis and guajilo chilis which are so easy to make into tons of yummy sauces by boiling and pureeing. It freezes well too. :D

 

luz
August 3, 2008

never made comments before even if I follow you for years.
Have a wonderful trip, wish you the best; I'm a Chilean living in Jamaica for the time.... good luck & I'll be waiting to read about your impressions and recipes from both countries....

 

Janice
August 4, 2008

In reference to funkylamb's recommendation of Charmaine Solomon's Harissa, I found that it is available in the US at Dean and Deluca and can be ordered online. Thanks for the info, funkylamb! And hanks for the recipe, Heidi! Can't wait to try it.
http://www.deandeluca.com/pantry/sauces-savory/charmaine-spice-pastes.aspx

 

Janice
August 4, 2008

In reference to funkylamb's recommendation of Charmaine Solomon's Harissa, I found that it is available in the US at Dean and Deluca and can be ordered online. Thanks for the info, funkylamb! And thanks for the recipe, Heidi! Can't wait to try it.
http://www.deandeluca.com/pantry/sauces-savory/charmaine-spice-pastes.aspx

 

Tal
August 4, 2008

This pasta dish looks rich and full of flavors. It's funny how I've never tried harissa before, even though I'm coming from Israel and here it's pretty common.
I'm used to 'lighter in taste' and minimal ingredients with my pasta, so this dish is definitely something new I'd like to try. :)

 

My favorite brand is Cap du Bon, but it's getting hard to find in my local markets. I've also used DEA with good results. Always, if you have the choice, buy in a tube rather than a tin. If you can only find the tin, remember to transfer the contents to a glass jar after you've opened it, as you'll only use a small bit of harissa at a time.

 

Elaine
August 4, 2008

Harissa sounds really good. I was thinking of making some sort of tapanades with hummus and black olives with this mixed in somehow.

 

aaron
August 4, 2008

you bring me back in time my mother is tunision origin she yoused to make harisa evry week its a must in tunision cooky red dried hotpeper in a sunny day crushd white olive oil black peper and salt white alot of garlic yammy one spoon improve evry dish

 

lifeinrecipes
August 4, 2008

This photo really made me sit up and take notice!
What a wonderful idea to help use up the tub of harissa I have. Thanks and have a fantastic trip.

 

Alison
August 4, 2008

Another quick and delicious meal from you. Thanks! I have never seen harissa in a pasta dish before. Very original.

Have fun in Chile and Argentina. I used to live in Argentina and loved it. Enjoy the wonderful medialunas (sin grasa!) and fantastic salads and pastas. Such great, fresh food, oh, and sites!

 

Rajee
August 4, 2008

I've been meaning to try harissa but havent had any luck finding one in the stores. Could anyone tell me where can I find it in the East Coast?

 

Haydee
August 4, 2008

You can find it in any upscale grocers or a well stocked farmer's market. I have a friend in Atlanta who sends me some (Harissa du Cap bon) from the Farmers Market in Atlanta.

Be safe on your journey!

 

Pepe
August 4, 2008

I am looking forward to your comments on the great products you can find in Chile and Argentina. It does not seem to be a great moment in the year to be there, though --- we are going through a dark and bleak winter! Come back in September.

 

Erin
August 4, 2008

I love harissa and pasta is one of my favorite ways to use it.
Have a safe trip, lucky lady!

 

Kitty Morse
August 4, 2008

Hello Heidi:
I enjoy your newsletter each week.
I wanted to add my two cents' worth about harissa--a condiment I am intimately familiar with since I was born in Casablanca (though Moroccans adopted it from the Tunisians).

There are many kinds of harissa, and many degrees of "heat" for the paste. I would recommend purchasing a jarred harissas rather than the one in the tube. I have always found the latter to have a metallic after taste.

In my cookbooks, Cooking at the Kasbah: recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen and others, I give several variations for making your own, from hot to mild. If you can't find harissa, I recommend using Thai hot sauce, and adding a little cumin for a "true" North African taste!

I envy your "quick trip" to Chile and Argentina. Hasta luego and Bon voyage!

Kitty
http://www.kittymorse.com

 

marissa
August 4, 2008

oh this looks so so good. I'm such a sucker for pine nuts yum!

 

I've heard so much about harissa but have yet to try it. The spaghettini above just looks stunning!

 

Annalisa
August 4, 2008

Wow! This sounds awesome. I can't wait to make my own harissa, using the LA Times recipe. I've never heard of it, but from the recipe you posted and the article in the Times, I know its going to be a fast favorite! Thanks heidi! You're the best!

 

Lo!
August 4, 2008

Oh, YUM. Harissa is one of my favorite things. I learned to eat it (on everything) during a brief trip I took to Tunisia in the 1990's. And I brought back a dried spice mixture to make my own when I got home.

I've been lucky enough to get "refills" from generous friends who have visited Africa in recent years... but I'm going to be very sad when my supply runs low. I've found none of the premade mixtures to be quite the same -- though I'd be delighted for recommendations, since at some point I might need them!!

 

Jigi
August 4, 2008

Heidi,
thanks for the link to the Harissa. Thiis one is much better then the one i have seen on FoodTV. Out of respect for all the chefs, that TV show will go unnamed.

I will be making this one of these days, as I have bene looking for an inspiration to get me back into the kitchen and harissa will absolutely get me there.

On a side note, do you have any issues cooking Quinoha(sp?). Mine turn out to be the consistency as the Tapioca balls.

 

Aaron Kagan
August 4, 2008

Other countries seem way more advanced in using spice pastes than we are here in the US. Maybe that's the next step for the local foods movement: tubes.

www.teaandfood.blogspot.com


 

Jamie
August 4, 2008

I will definitely have to try this, and try making harissa since I never see it around where I live. Just wanted to add my favorite way to make a garlic paste: use a zester/fine grater. This works well for ginger too, and is how I make garlic/ginger paste for curry.

 

I love how you always are using up ingredients you have on hand. The best way to come up with recipes. ;-) This sounds delicious, as well as a simple dinner to make.

 

gina
August 4, 2008

Made this tonight and it was fabulous. I have always made pasta alia e olio with greens, garlic and hot pepper, but this just upped the ante. Thanks.

Now dreaming of doing it with white beans and/or sausage as well.

 

bryan
August 4, 2008

i swear by the Zuni cookbook recipe for harissa. it's totally labor intensive but totally worth it.
plus, it's a great excuse to finally use up a significant number of spices from the pantry.
it's full flavored, well balanced, a little spicy, and the recipe makes a ton. perfect for freezing.

 

socalexpat
August 4, 2008

made this tonight and it was so easy! added italian tuna packed in olive oil and used spinach instead of kale. Also one tbs of harissa and one of Israeli schug. i will definitely make this again!

 

Greg
August 4, 2008

Heidi - Thanks for the ideas and the great website.

Thanks also to funkylamb and Janice. I ordered 2 bottles of Harissa from D&D.

 

Monica
August 4, 2008

Heidi,

I've been religiously reading your bolg for several months, and I look forward to every post. You have such a refreshing angle, it almost makes we want to give up meat!

I live in Santiago, Chile so if you need any reccomendations or just a friendly tourguide, please drop me a line. (mona.nb@gmail.com)

Just one place you cannot miss is "El Huerto" restaurant, the best vegetarian restaurant in Santiago. (http://www.elhuerto.cl/index/) They've been at it for over 25 years, and it shows. (a "huerto" is a veggie garden in Chilean).

It's true it's winter here, but we've had all kinds of days, ranging from chilly and rainy to sunny and bright. Most homes aren't very well heated, so dress in layers.

Have a great trip!!

 

Moshe David
August 4, 2008

aww, you're bringing me back to when I worked at a great little Moroccan restaurant in Santa Barbara... am remembering the harissa as a dip for bread with the carrot salad and super delicious with the whitefish (cilantro city!).

a tip for softening the chiles - keep a jar in the fridge with water and add dry chiles, that way whenever the urge to make harissa occurs you're prepared. Can also be softened in olive oil.

am dreaming now of a polenta dish with a cherry tomato-harrisa sauce and chestnuts. would be great with roasted chicken

 

Kirsten
August 4, 2008

I have never tasted Harissa before - it looks absolutely delicious and I think, I have to taste it soon!

 

Kirsten
August 4, 2008

I have never tasted Harissa before - it looks absolutely delicious and I think, I have to taste it soon!

 

Solomon Raju Muvvala
August 5, 2008

I like so much cooking. And tasting the new variety tastes. So i Urge you all to enjoy the new tastes.

 

Heather
August 5, 2008

Wow. I am really eager to make harissa now; this is just gorgeous and I adore spicy food. The LA Times references New Mexico chiles. Does anyone have a good source for these? I see some references online that sub them for Anaheims, but it seems they are not quite the same thing.

 

Toni
August 5, 2008

I saw this recipe, knew I HAD to make it, and did. I followed the recipe to the letter, and it came out brilliantly.

My husband was very pleased, and I'll be serving at our next dinner party. Delicious!

 

Alexthepink
August 5, 2008

This looks delicious! I have just made my own harissa for the first time and I'm just cooking up some chicken now...I might use the leftover paste for some spaghettini though!

 

Ginger
August 5, 2008

Wow, harissa and spaghetti are two of my favourite things. I can't believe I haven't tried this combination before, thanks for alerting me !

 

kathryn
August 5, 2008

Lovely dish, particularly with those big chunks of kale in there. And what a good idea to take the leftovers on a plane with you. So much better than airline food. Both taste and health wise.

 

C.
August 5, 2008

Food looks gorgeous as ever. I can't wait to try this one. How spicy is spicy? We all do spicy here, but...

Please update your tweets so I/we can show you off! ;) C.

 

Jessica
August 5, 2008

I once got a wedge of chedder cheese with harissa cheese from trader joes, that was some delicious. This pasta dish looks awesome.

 

Carol Hickson
August 6, 2008

Love trying a new recipe, this one sounds very good, But, can anyone tell me how to make harissa? I would love to know as I grow a lot of tomatoes and vegetables.

 

LD
August 6, 2008

Just a thought:
I was thinking that soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) would be specific delicious variation. The heartiness of the buckwheat would offset the harissa spice and I always find that sauces "cling" much better to buckwheat noodles in general.

PS Don't post often but read daily! Love your writing style and recipes. Did a modified version of your peanut noodle salad - instead of blanching the asparagus I flash-sauteed along with leeks (I'm on a leek kick right now) and edamame. YUMMY!!!! The peanut sauce was perfect - not too spicy - not too bland (I used crunchy and nixed the peanuts).

 

LED
August 6, 2008

Just a thought:
I was thinking that soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) would be specific delicious variation. The heartiness of the buckwheat would offset the harissa spice and I always find that sauces "cling" much better to buckwheat noodles in general.

PS Don't post often but read daily! Love your writing style and recipes. Did a modified version of your peanut noodle salad - instead of blanching the asparagus I flash-sauteed along with leeks (I'm on a leek kick right now) and edamame. YUMMY!!!! The peanut sauce was perfect - not too spicy - not too bland (I used crunchy and nixed the peanuts).

 

LED
August 6, 2008

Just a thought:
I was thinking that soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) would be a specific delicious variation. The heartiness of the buckwheat would offset the harissa spice and I always find that sauces "cling" much better to buckwheat noodles in general.

PS Don't post often but read daily! Love your writing style and recipes. Did a modified version of your peanut noodle salad - instead of blanching the asparagus I flash-sauteed along with leeks (I'm on a leek kick right now) and edamame. YUMMY!!!! The peanut sauce was perfect - not too spicy - not too bland (I used crunchy and nixed the peanuts).

 

Joe
August 6, 2008

Heidi,
I lust after you recipes. That and the entertainment value of your journal writing almost had me buy your book. maybe someday I will attempt one of your recipes and not just drool over the pictures.

 

ValHalla
August 6, 2008

I encourage everyone to try making harissa--it is easy and so good. The only tricky part is that I have to strain it to get out the bits of dried pepper skin that my husband dislikes (yes I spoil him). The one time I tried a store bought jar it was too spicy and generally not good.
I use Deborah Madison's recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. (There's also an amazing stew with harissa in that book.)

 

I never tried harissa, but it sounds and looks wonderful!

 

tjewell
August 6, 2008

That looks delicious! We use harissa frequently, but only have the powdered. Do I need to do anything special to substitute?