Ottolenghi's Pappardelle with Rose Harissa, Black Olives & Capers

October 21, 2018

Author Notes: Pappare means "to gobble up," in Italian, which is the destiny of this dish (particularly in Tara's house, where her husband, Chris, makes it most Sunday nights). I like it spicy, but the quantity of harissa can easily be reduced. Make the sauce 3 days ahead if you like and keep in the fridge until needed.

Reprinted from Simple, © Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, with permission from Ten Speed Press, 2018.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 30 min


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (mounded 2 cups, 220g)
  • 3 tablespoons rose harissa (or 50 percent more or less; depending on variety)
  • 14 ounces (400g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup (55g) pitted kalamata olives, torn in half
  • 2 tablespoons baby capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (200ml) water
  • 3/4 cup (15g) parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound 2 ounces (500g) dried pappardelle pasta (or other wide flat pasta)
  • 1/2 cup (120g) Greek-style yogurt
In This Recipe


  1. Put the oil into a large sauté pan with a lid and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and fry for 8 minutes, stirring every once in a while, until soft and caramelized. Add the harissa, tomatoes, olives, capers, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the water and stir to mix thoroughly. Once boiling, decrease the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, until the sauce is thick and rich. Stir in 1/2 cup (10g) of the parsley and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with plenty of salted water and place over high heat. Once boiling, add the pappardelle and cook according to the package instructions, until al dente. Drain well.
  3. Return the pasta to the pot along with the harissa sauce and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Mix together well, then divide among 4 shallow bowls. Serve hot, with a spoonful of yogurt and a final sprinkle of parsley.

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Reviews (4) Questions (0)

4 Reviews

THEToughCookie December 9, 2018
Rose harissa is very different from traditional harissa...the rose component tamps down the heat and adds a lovely almost sweet, almost floral note to the dish. Traditional harissa in this dish will make something completely different, not that it's a bad thing, mind you. Can't wait to make it again as soon as the rose harissa I re-ordered arrives.
FrugalCat November 13, 2018
I also used regular harissa instead of rose. I made it with my usual whole wheat penne pasta and it was great. Good fall/winter dish.
Rhonda35 October 31, 2018
Made this tonight and it was well-received. I couldn't find rose harissa, so I used regular harissa. I'm not sure how much that changed the intended flavor of the dish, but we were pleased with our results. I cut back the harissa to 2T, knowing I could always add more to the sauce, if need be. It was quite spicy, so I didn't add anymore. I'll definitely make this recipe again - it's very good!
Brendan B. October 24, 2018
Excellent recipe overall, though the harissa addition proportion may be out of whack for the flavour profile. I used approx 1/6th of the harissa, and got a nice buzz, without being overwhelmed by heat.