What we love about this harissa pasta
- The combination of harissa paste with creamy mascarpone cheese, tangy capers, and fresh basil creates a harmonious balance of flavors and textures.
- This recipe is easy. Even though it seems complex, because the flavors undoubtedly are, the recipe is actually really simple to throw together. There isn’t much prep involved – just a little garlic mincing and caper smashing.
- You can serve this sauce on any pasta shape you like. We just felt like a thick spaghetti would hit the spot, so we rolled with it.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it
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Ingredients you might need to pick up
- Harissa paste – Harissa paste is a bold and smoky spice blend made from chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, spices such as cumin, coriander, and caraway.
- Capers – These add a briney, tang to the sauce. You can skip them if you really can’t find them, but we highly recommend.
- Tomato paste
- Mascarpone cheese – This is similar to cream cheese in flavor. It adds a smooth and creamy tang to the sauce.
- Fresh basil leaves
How to make this harissa pasta
Boil the pasta. Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add some salt and the spaghetti. Cook until the pasta is al dente (follow the package directions for a rough estimate. Reserve about a cup of pasta water before draining.
Make the sauce. In a separate pot or skillet. Heat olive oil to medium-high and sauté the garlic and capers until fragrant. The, stir in the harissa and tomatoes pasta, followed by the mascarpone cheese.
Add a splash of pasta water to loosen the sauce. Then, toss the spaghetti into the pan and stir to coat. Stir in extra pasta water, as needed until the sauce is silky and smooth on the spaghetti.
Garnish and serve. Top with fresh basil and serve with your favorite grated parmesan cheese.
Everything you need to know about this harissa pasta
Harissa paste is a unique blend of chili peppers, garlic and curry spices blended in an oil to make a paste. This spicy paste is commonly used to season a variety of dishes, used as a marinade or even sometimes as a condiment adding a bold and smokey, fiery flavor.
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1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon capers, smashed
2 tablespoons harissa paste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add salt and spaghetti. Cook pasta to al dente, following package instructions. Reserve about a cup of pasta water, drain and set aside.
In a separate pot or skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high and sauté the garlic and capers until fragrant.
Stir in the harissa and tomatoes paste, followed by the mascarpone cheese. Whisking to combine as mascarpone cheese melts.
Add pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed.
Stir spaghetti into the pan until well coated in sauce.
Stir in extra pasta water, as needed until the sauce is silky and smooth on the spaghetti.
Top with fresh basil and serve with your favorite grated parmesan cheese.
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Spaghetti
- Method: Stovetop
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