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

October 21, 2018
15 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
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.Food52

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • naivemelody
  • ClickitySplit
  • Kayla BN
    Kayla BN
  • THEToughCookie
  • FrugalCat

17 Reviews

naivemelody May 4, 2023
This is my go-to recipe for when I want to make a dish to really wow a friend. Definitely make sure to get rose harissa, which is very different from the regular harissa that comes in tubes. It's a bit of a pain to source, but so worth it! (And don't skip the yogurt, either!)
rzakem March 10, 2022
To be honest, we found it a little bland (spicy, but bland). Next time I'm going to put in some garlic while I'm cooking the onions, up the amount of olives (perhaps mix some green with the Kalamata), up the salt a bit and add some black pepper. Again, it wasn't the heat that was lacking, it just tasted bland. I also think 500 gm of pasta is too much for the amount of sauce that the recipe produces. I might try 300 next time. Lastly, as for Rose Harissa, if you have a Middle Eastern store in your town, you can purchase regular Harissa and a bottle of Rose Water. It's about a two to one mix of spice and water and voila, you have your own version of Rose Harissa.
M February 14, 2022
Wow wow delicious yummy!
maphalen February 10, 2022
Yeah…cause we all have rose Harris’s in our pantry…
maphalen February 10, 2022
Tinaindenver February 10, 2022
It is a bit annoying. Rose harissa is readily available in London or you can overpay on Amazon. Ottolenghi lives in the UK and often calls for ingredients that are hard to get in the US>
Rhonda35 February 10, 2022
Just use regular harissa; it’ll be fine.
Donamaya April 23, 2022
Kalustyan’s ( or at the shop in NYC) sells the Belazu Rose Harissa that Ottolenghi recommends
Tinaindenver September 16, 2020
I have made this recipe both ways, first with rose harissa and second with regular harissa and it was great both ways. The last reviewer is correct that regular harissa is spicier than rose harissa, so the trick is to use less harissa if you are using regular. I diluted mine with some rosewater, but that is not essential. The recipe calls for 3 T. but says 50% more or less depending on the type of harissa. I think I only used about 1 1/2 T for the regular type.
[email protected] September 15, 2020
Well, I love this chef but I was not successful with this recipe. From reading the other reviews I am determining that regular Harissa is not the same as Rose Harissa. I made this for my family and it was way too spicy!
ClickitySplit December 9, 2019
Great recipe! We used a little less onion (a preference) and more cherry tomato which are sold here in 10 oz packs - used all of the 2 packs needed to cover the recipe. Rose Harissa is great stuff.
Kayla B. April 28, 2019
I didn't have the right pasta shape but sauce was absolutely delicious! I've fell in love with rose harissa recently and definitely would recommend seeking it out for this recipe!
Tinaindenver January 26, 2019
I couldn't find rose harissa, so I used 2T of regular harissa from TJ. It turned out great. Will definitely make it again and will order some rose harissa online.
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.