linguine with harissa, chick pea, mushroom and spinach

by Heguiberto on September 17, 2009

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
linguini with harissa, chick pea, mushroom and spinach

linguini with harissa, chick pea, mushroom and spinach

Harissa is a spicy chili paste commonly associated with Moroccan cooking but it is widely used all over North Africa. Harissa is made with hot chili peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes, preserved lemons, olive oil, salt, cumin, caraway, coriander and other spices. The flavor may sometimes vary, depending on the brand you buy. When you taste harissa expect an explosion in your mouth. Your taste buds will be bombarded with several layers of flavor hitting you with different intensities. There will be spicy hot, sweet, lemony sour, salty, smoky and the earthy flavors from the spices. Harissa is delicious in soups, sandwiches, couscous, pasta and goes perfectly well with chick-peas.

A couple of years ago while reading the Vegetarian Times I bumped into a recipe for pasta with harissa and chick peas that I thought would taste good. I postponed making it for several months because it seemed too labor intensive at the time. Well finally one day I decided to give it a whirl. Yes, it did prove to be a bit labor intensive, but guess what? I have been making it ever since! It is that good.

key ingredients for linguini with harissa, chick pea, mushroom and spinach

key ingredients for linguini with harissa, chick pea, mushroom and spinach

This is a complete, healthy meal; utterly vegan and free of cholesterol! Sorry Vegetarian Times, I may have introduced a few changes along the way. With that said, let’s go to the recipe:

Linguine with Harissa, Chick Pea, Mushroom and Spinach

Ingredients:
1 lb pack of linguine or other long pasta of your choice
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp harissa paste*
Pinch saffron threads
1 cup cooked chick-peas
1 bag fresh cleaned baby spinach, about 7oz (200gr)
4 cups of water
1 to 1 ½ lb mushrooms of your choice, roughly chopped+
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
6 tbsp olive oil

*I get my harissa paste at Whole Foods. I haven’t yet found it elsewhere in San Francisco. Any recommendations?

+for this recipe I used cremini and Portobello but if you want to be fancy you can use morels, shitakes, or chanterelles. Of course, regular button mushrooms will do in a pinch. I have made this pasta before with these more exotic mushrooms. It was incredible!

oven-toasted linguini looks like this when correctly done

oven-toasted linguini looks like this when correctly done

linguini with harissa, chick pea, mushroom and spinach close up

linguini with harissa, chick pea, mushroom and spinach close up

How to:
Start by boiling salted water for cooking the pasta.

Pre heat your oven to 400F. Spread the pasta on a cookie sheet. Place it in the oven and toast till begins to brown. This process should take a couple of minutes tops! Do not burn it! Remove and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a deep pan and sauté ½ of the garlic and tomato paste for a minute or so.

Add to pan harissa sauce, saffron threads and water. Stir till tomato paste has dissolved and lumps are gone. Increase temperature to boil, immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add chick peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Using a skillet heat 3 tbsp oil and sauté mushrooms and remaining garlic together for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm. Mushrooms get too soggy when sautéed with salt therefore I recommend that you salt them afterward.

Drop pasta into boiling water and cook it half of total time required on the package. My Trader Joe’s linguine called for 7 minutes total so I cooked it for a mere 3 ½ minutes. Drain pasta in a colander.

Using the same pan in which pasta has been cooked, return it to stove burner heat adjusted to low, place fresh spinach at the bottom. Then add cooked pasta and top it with tomato-harrisa-chick pea sauce. Keep it stirring until most of juices have been absorbed and pasta reaches the ‘al dente’ texture, about 3-5 minutes. Lastly add mushrooms. Transfer to a nice serving plate and bon appétit!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: