I seem to be craving a lot of hearty pasta at the moment, which is a little incongruous with the idea that as soon as the sun is out we should all be nibbling on watermelon and platters of salad. I must need the carbs. That said, this pasta is on the lighter side.
Yotam has included a lot of pasta recipes in Ottolenghi Simple and they are all very tasty and very simple. They’re also not quite pasta in the traditional Italian sense, they’ve definitely been Ottolenghi-fied. This pappardelle with rose harissa, black olives and capers seems to take inspiration from the robust classic pasta alla puttanesca (or slut’s spaghetti if you’re Nigella). This Ottolenghi take on the classic adds rose harissa and removes the anchovies, making it an incidentally vegan recipe.
It is a very simple sauce to bring together. Onions are fried, tomatoes are softened, water is added and all the ingredients are simmered till they meld and form a thick, glossy sauce. I don’t really like pappardelle, I find the fat tapeworm ribbons of pasta a little difficult to eat. I love a tagliatelle or linguine but as soon as that pasta starts to get too wide, I lose interest. Without a thinner pasta in the cupboard, I opted for something like a gigli but I’d imagine anything would do. I also mistook a bunch of coriander for some parsley in the fridge, so I didn’t have the right herb either. The only intentional swap I made was replacing the recommended dollop of greek yoghurt with some Oatly Creme Fraiche.
It was definitely a tasty bowl of pasta. The sauce was delicious, sweeter and less potent than a puttanesca but offering a similar flavour profile thanks to the capers and olives. My accidental addition of coriander was quite nice with the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes and harissa. It’ll be interesting to see how the recipe turns out with the right ingredients next time.
I will definitely make this pappardelle with rose harissa, black olives and capers again, especially if I have some rose harissa to use up in the fridge. As rose harissa isn’t the cheapest ingredient, I wouldn’t buy it especially for this recipe, but if you have some lingering then this makes an ideal mid-week carb treat and travels well in Tupperware for lunch leftovers.
You can find the recipe on p.188 of Ottolenghi Simple, but it’s also available for free on the Ottolenghi website.