Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Harissa Pasta

A new favorite meal, we've had this at least once a week, sometimes more, for the last month. So quick, so delicious, so lovely!

Harissa Pasta Recipe

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.
This recipe is, of course, from Heidi Swanson at 101 cookbooks.

I made my own harissa paste (such things being foreign to the midwest shopping scene) and it was much, much easier than I expected. Next time, it will be better because I will actually have the right ingredients. I found dried chilis for next to nothing in my Walmart latino section. I'm almost out of my last batch and I can't wait to try out a new one!
I've used this on all kinds of pasta. My favorite is the mostaccioli shown above. Also, mixed into tomato sauces and served with fresh basil and shrimp. I substitute regular olives for the fancy shmancy kind that require selling off my first born child to afford. Although I did sit there and drool for a few moments. And Jed was eating (yet another) box of pasta (yes, the box, not the pasta) and the ensuing flood of shells made me for one brief moment consider exchanging him for the kalamatas.... But then he smiled and ooooo, he is so darn cute! Medium boring brand olives will do! Ditto the walnuts in place of pine nuts and the boring old lemon juice. I'm sure all the original recommendations would be delightful.

Also, before I go, a shot of our beautiful carrots grown in our front flower bed. :c)

1 comment:

Brooke said...

So, what exactly is harissa? You should share THAT recipe too :) The pictures are fabulous!